A familiar face will be missing from the La Salle bench next season. Matt Bloom, a member of Dr. John Giannini's staff for the past six years, has accepted the head boy's basketball coaching job at Rutgers Prep in Somerset, New Jersey. He's served as the men's team's director of basketball operations for the last three year's at La Salle.
"I can't put into words how hard Matt worked for us and how much he cared," Giannini said in a press release. "I appreciate all his efforts and friendship. The number of daily activities he organized and the number of people he worked with seems countless. Matt took care of every single detail in our program. We will miss him, but we are excited for his new challenge. I'm sure he will do great things."
Bloom's duties as director of basketball operations had focused heavily on players' schedules — cooridnating class, practice, workouts, commuty service and media responsibilities. Before that, he was a video coordinator and an academic support assistant. Bloom said he's thankful for the memories the past six years have given him.
"The relationships I've made at La Salle will last a lifetime and I wish the team the best of luck moving forward," Bloom said.
Prior to coming aboard at La Salle, Bloom spent three seasons at Rutgers University under Fred Hill.
B.J. Johnson scored 25 points, Pookie Powell scored 24 and La Salle beat Mercer 95-85 on Sunday.
La Salle (6-6) made 16 of 29 3-pointers (55 percent) and were two made 3s away from the school record set on three occasions. The Explorers finished shooting 54 percent (31 of 57) overall.
Isiah Deas made back-to-back 3s, Johnnie Schuler added a 3 and Johnson scored the next seven points with a 3 and four free throws as the Explorers built an early 24-13 lead.
Ria'n Holland countered with back-to-back 3s and Stephon Jelks added one to reduce Mercer's deficit to 27-22, but La Salle broke it open with a 22-7 run to close the half and never looked back.
Johnnie Shuler scored 13 points and Saul Phiri and Isiah Deas each scored 11 for La Salle. Amar Stukes had 10 assists.
Holland scored a career-high 33 points -- was 6 of 9 from 3-point range -- and Jelks scored 22 for the Bears (6-5).
BELFAST, Northern Ireland — B.J. Johnson scored 15 points, including two free throws with 1.7 seconds left, and La Salle held off Holy Cross 58-54 on Saturday in the consolation game of the inaugural Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic.
Pookie Powell, who had 13 points, hit two 3-pointers during an early 8-0 in the second half to give the Explorers (5-4) a 42-26 lead. But in the final 15 minutes, La Salle made just four more baskets and the Crusaders (2-5) charged back.
A 15-2 run, capped by a jumper by Jehyve Floyd with 2:25 to play, tied the game at 50. Johnson responded with his only 3-pointer in seven attempts to quickly put La Salle, which went 4 of 12, back on top. The Crusaders got a pair of free throws with 1:18 to go but Isiah Deas hit another La Salle 3 with 58 seconds remaining. Both teams missed opportunities before Patrick Benzan made a layup for Holy Cross with 3.2 seconds left before Johnson sealed the win.
Floyd led Holy Cross with 15 points and Benzan had 13, 11 in the second half.