In the aftermath of a 68-66 overtime loss to American at Tom Gola Arena on Tuesday, La Salle's players said all the right things.

They credited their foes with playing hard, making tough shots and shooting the ball at better than 48 percent from the field.

But when La Salle coach John Giannini had the last word, he acknowledged what everyone in the arena saw. The Explorers were not ready to play.

"You can't not be ready to play and beat a team like American, especially when they are shooting the ball the way they are. We weren't ready to play," Giannini said. "But I think we will learn from this because we have great kids. But we just weren't ready to play today."

The Explorers (5-5) fell behind by 20 points with just under 15 minutes to play in regulation. But when Jordan Price (26 points) swished a three-pointer from just inside midcourt with time expiring in the second half to cap a 36-16 La Salle run, the Explorers thought they still had a chance.

"Oh, yeah," Giannini said of the 59-59 score at the end of regulation. "I thought we had a good chance. But we had our share of struggles in overtime."

That they did.

Jerrell Wright, who finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, scored La Salle's first and only basket of overtime with 59 seconds to play. La Salle attempted four shots in the extra period.

The Explorers also committed 23 turnovers compared with 15 for American.

John Schoof led four American players in double figures with 18 points. American (6-4) led by 13 at the end of a first half that saw them shoot 15 for 23 (65.2 percent) from the floor. Five of those buckets were from three-point range.

"Our game plan was to not let them shoot threes and they made five in the first half," Price said. "But we came out a little sluggish in the first half and let them get on a roll. So that's what got them going real quick. They knocked down some difficult shots."

The Explorers played the game without injured starting point guard D.J. Peterson (ankle). Cleon Roberts filled in for him and scored five points.

jmitchell@philly.com

@JmitchInquirer