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Strong second half helps La Salle hold off Delaware

EVEN IN WINNING, coach John Giannini knows his La Salle Explorers - with a few new faces - still have plenty to work on.

EVEN IN WINNING, coach John Giannini knows his La Salle Explorers - with a few new faces - still have plenty to work on.

"Our shot selection is not good, but it will get better," Giannini said.

"Offensively, we just can't take jump shots off the dribble with hands in our face. It's an atrocious play, and we do it too much."

The difference between the atrocious and the superb was on full display in the dagger three-pointer of La Salle's 74-68 win over Delaware at Gola Arena Tuesday night.

After Delaware's Ryan Daly knocked down a three-pointer to get the Blue Hens within 63-61 with 3:07 to go, Giannini called a timeout.

Out of the talk, Memphis transfer Pookie Powell hit a three-pointer from the top of the key. After a defensive stop, transfer Demetrius Henry (South Carolina) made a dunk inside for a 68-61 lead. It was the last field goal La Salle would need. Defense and foul shooting took care of the rest.

"It was a catch-and-shoot three," Giannini said. "Taking threes off the dribble with a hand in the face is not good. He was open, and he knocked it down. That's the kind of three we want. That was a great shot. It was a gutsy shot, and it was a huge shot. But it was also a smart shot, in terms of it being an open, catch-and-shoot."

One shot choice Giannini lamented was B.J. Johnson's tomahawk dunk attempt one possession after Johnson's three-pointer gave La Salle a 59-48 lead. Off a Delaware miss, Johnson was fed the ball in transition, and he went up strong with his left hand but came away empty-handed.

Delaware answered with a 10-0 run.

"It was a great drive," Giannini said. "He was three feet over the rim, and if he just dunked the ball like an NBA player instead of like Blake Griffin and cocked the ball back to his hip . . . we would have been up (13) and sailing."

"That really gave them a lot of momentum."

Momentum the Explorers had to fend off the rest of the way.

Whatever the Explorers threw at the Blue Hens, Cazmon Hayes and Daly - an Archbishop Carroll graduate - had answers. The two Delaware guards combined for 38 points, with Daly pouring in 17 in the second half.

"We played well enough to hang on, which is important," Giannini said. "The way they were playing, we were extremely challenged. They put a lot of stress on us and we responded."

La Salle (1-1) was paced by Jordan Price's 15 points. Powell added 14, Henry 11 and Johnson scored nine.

Guard Anthony Mosley had 17 points for the Blue Hens (2-1), who shot only 4-for-17 from beyond the arc.

A sloppy first half, which ended with Delaware ahead, 27-26, saw the teams combine for 15 turnovers, with La Salle giving up eight possessions.

That lead would be Delaware's last.

La Salle opened the second half on a 25-11 run that spanned nearly 10 minutes to take a 51-38 lead, its largest of the game.

The Explorers, after a 37 percent first half, shot 50 percent from the field in the second half.

"We did everything better in the second half," Giannini said.

Starting with the shot selection.