Winning Record Ensured

Head Coach Dr. John Giannini has his second winning season already secured. Now, La Salle looks to position itself for a possible post-season bid to a tournament but first still needs to lay more groundwork with the season's final two games against A-10 foes Fordham on senior night before traveling to St. Louis for the conference finale.

It has been a season of both promise and disappointment and again promise and disappointment. When the dust finally settles on this 2008-2009 La Salle basketball program one thing remains assured, this edition of the Explorers are winners. With their 97-88 victory over UMASS on Sunday, La Salle has been ensured of their second winning season in their last four seasons. This year's edition may get what the 2005-2006 Steven Smith led edition did not receive, and invitation to play in a post season tournament. Currently sitting with a 16-12 record and 7-7 within the conference, the Explorers will face 3 -23 Fordham tomorrow on senior night before preparing for a difficult game against St. Louis on Saturday when the Billikens have senior night for departing fan favorites Kevin Lisch and Tommie Liddell.

After suffering two disappointing performance at home against Richmond and Duquesne, La Salle took care of business this past week disposing of Temple on their home floor and hammering UMASS this past Sunday in a game which the Explorers had two players score over 30 points in the same game. The emergence of 6"4 shooting guard Darryl Partin, who along with junior Rodney Green were each one half of the 30 point scoring club against UMASS, the Explorers have another player who can score from the perimeter and force defenses to guard the three point arc which will help stop teams from easily double-teaming La Salle guards from posting up the smaller guards of opponents which remains the Explorers main preference for scoring the basketball. In addition, La Salle's ability and willingness to push the basketball in transition has allowed the team to score easy baskets which helps fuel the offense while helping the team play defense on the other end of the court. La Salle will need to keep getting contributions from Partin and the continued fine play of Rodney Green to mix with the steady play of Kimmani Barrett and heady senior Paul Johnson to remain a factor for post-season consideration. More contributions from Ruben Guillandeaux, Vernon Goodridge, and Williams' brothers will only make La Salle a more lethal team down the stretch and someone most teams will not want to play come A-10 tournament time or hopefully, post-season tournament time.

Johnson will be recognized before the Fordham game for his contributions to the program. As the lone senior and Giannini's first recruit as La Salle's head coach, the 6"6 forward from Washington D.C. has become a vital cog in the re-emergence of La Salle basketball. While not receiving much fanfare because he does not score many points, Johnson has become the consummate leader and teammate bringing a "lunch pail" work ethic which no doubt has rubbed off on his teammates. His contribution to the program will extend far deeper than the 4 years he wore the La Salle program. PJ is a player that will be missed but he has a good chance to extend his college career if he and the Explorers can continue their fine play this final week and into the A-10 tournament. What tournament the Explorers attend will depend on a team that seems to be gaining momentum at the right time. This team is now called winners, the next name Explorer fans hope to tag on them is post-season participants.

Temple Stars of the Game:
Third Star: Ruben Guillandeaux
Second Star: Kimmani Barrett
First Star: Rodney Green

UMASS Stars of the Game:
Third Star: Vernon Goodridge
Second Star: Rodney Green
First Star: Darryl Partin

ExplorerHoopReport Most Valuable Player Award Standings for the Season

Rodney Green: 55 points
Kimmani Barrett: 33 points
Ruben Guillandeaux: 21 points
Vernon Goodridge: 16 points
Yves Mekongo Mbala: 16 points
Paul Johnson: 7 points
Jerrell Williams: 5 points
Darryl Partin: 3 points

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