La Salle Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

La Salle Explorers
Atlantic 10 Conference (21-12, 9-7)

Temple University was the crown jewel of the A10 this year. The Owls had a dominating season on their way to being ranked in the top 25 for a number of weeks throughout. On the other end of the spectrum was Xavier. The Musketeers were supposed to be that team, rolling through their conference and vying for Best High-Major team in the nation. Instead, an early season fight in a game against Cincinnati seemed to derail them and they never recovered. Somewhere in the middle lay La Salle. The Explorers had a nice season on their way to the postseason but seemed to get lost in the jumble of the rather impressive Atlantic 10. This wasn’t 1954 for La Salle but it was not a failure either.

Big Wins: 12/3 Bucknell (78-52), 1/4 Xavier (80-70), 2/18 at Massachusetts (72-71)
Bad Losses: 11/25 vs Robert Morris (44-51), 1/19 at Delaware (66-70), 2/25 at Fordham (62-67)
Coach: John Giannini (8 seasons at La Salle)

Why They Can Surprise:
John Giannini is a veteran coach who knows how to get the most out of his players. La Salle was a very good home team this season, going 13-2 at Tom Gola Arena. They went a serviceable 6-6 against RPI top 100 teams in the regular season and, at one point, won 11 of 12 games heading into the meat of their conference schedule. The Explorers are, overall, a very young team but have some great, experienced upperclassmen leading the freshmen. The team’s leading scorer is senior Earl Pettis. Pettis, a guard with good size, also averages more steals than turnovers. The entire Explorers roster is great at stealing the basketball. They also shoot great from the outside as a unit, ranking first in the A-10 and 7th in the entire nation in three point shooting percentage at over 40%. The team’s leader in three-point shooting is another one of the upperclassmen, junior Ramon Galloway. Galloway barely edged out a couple of his teammates for that distinction as four separate Explorers shot at least 41% from behind the arc during the regular season.

Why They Can Disappoint:
A team with not a lot of size and no prolific rebounders sometimes has difficulty winning if the outside shot isn’t falling. In La Salle’s two worst losses of the year, an early season defeat at the hands of Robert Morris and a hard-to-explain loss to conference basement dweller Fordham, La Salle shot a combined 10-46 from three point land (21.7%). They also shot 2-16 from behind the arc at Delaware, a game that would have surely helped their out-of-conference resume if they had won. Living and dying by the three is an overused cliché since teams who shoot a lot from deep are often good at it and shoot themselves into games they may have no business winning. And yet, three of La Salle’s most debilitating losses of the year came at the hands of equal or inferior opponents who witnessed the Explorers not able to hit the broad side of a barn. In a tournament game, by shooting a lot from deep and not getting to the line very often, La Salle opens themselves up for defeats.

Probable Starters:
Earl Pettis, Senior, Guard, 15.3 ppg, 2.2 apg
Tyreek Duren, Sophomore, Guard, 13.5 ppg, 4.0 apg
Sam Mills, Sophomore, Guard, 10.7 ppg, 2.5 apg
Ramon Galloway, Junior, Guard, 14.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.5 apg
Jerrell Wright, Freshman, Forward, 9.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
D.J. Peterson, Freshman, Guard, 3.0 ppg
Devon White, Junior, Forward, 5.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.1 (57th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.5 (128, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.3 (56, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.3 (86, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.9 (41, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.3 (7, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.5 (88, 5)
Rebound Margin:  -3.5 (281, 12)
Assists Per Game: 14.5 (53, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (120, 5)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
LaSalle    1992    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Seton Hall
LaSalle    1991    NIT           First Round loss to Massachusetts
LaSalle    1990    NCAA        Round of 64 win over Southern Mississippi
LaSalle    1990    NCAA        Round of 32 loss to Clemson
LaSalle    1989    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Louisiana Tech
LaSalle    1988    NCAA        Round of 64 loss to Kansas State

*all team stats through 3/4

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