La Salle Explorers

La Salle tests No. 11 Miami but falls to 3rd straight loss

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La Salle tests No. 11 Miami but falls to 3rd straight loss

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READING, Pa. — Prized freshman Lonnie Walker IV struggled in his return home, but Dewan Huell scored 16 points and No. 11 Miami did just enough to get by La Salle 57-46 on Wednesday night and remain unbeaten.

Part of Miami's recruiting pitch for the projected NBA lottery pick was a game in his hometown. Walker was held to five points and 2-of-8 shooting, and his woes were contagious. Miami (4-0) shot 37 percent from the field and the Explorers were 0 of 15 from 3-point range.

B.J. Johnson scored 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting and Pookie Powell added 15 on 5-of-15 from the field for La Salle (3-3) in its third straight loss.

La Salle traveled about 60 miles from campus, but it was a Miami home game and the crowd was solidly behind their local hero's team. Walker has provided a needed boost to a struggling city northwest of Philadelphia.

Once a bustling railroad and mill town of 120,000, Reading has been in a steady decline for decades. It ranked as the poorest city in the nation in the 2010 Census based on median household income. Population has plummeted to under 88,000.

Walker and his Reading High School team had given the city something to be proud of in March, winning its first state title.

Many in the crowd wore red Reading High state champion T-shirts and sweatshirts, with sprinkles of Miami orange and La Salle blue and gold sprinkled in.

Walker didn't start — he hasn't yet this season — but the crowd roared as he got off the bench and walked to the scorer's table 4 minutes in.

While Walker didn't appear to have any issue with the left ankle he turned in a win over Florida A&M last week, it was a struggle. He missed his first three shots before finally bringing the crowd to its feet with a nifty crossover dribble and bank shot in the lane in the final seconds of an ugly first half that made it 19-19.

Walker couldn't get it going in the second half, either. But he fed Bruce Brown Jr. for a 3-pointer with 3:23 left to put Miami up 49-39 during an 8-0 run.

Huell hit 8 of10 shots and added seven rebounds.

Big picture
La Salle: The Explorers dropped their third straight game to a Power 5 team (Northwestern, Boston College), but this was one they could have won with a decent shooting performance. They shot 29 percent from the field.

Miami: It was tough to tell if Walker was 100 percent with his ankle. He likely had some nerves. It was far from the performance he would have liked. Walker has been held to single digits in three straight games.

Up next
La Salle hosts Big 5 rival Temple on Sunday before departing for a two-game tournament in Northern Ireland next week.

Miami returns home to face North Florida on Saturday before traveling to No. 14 Minnesota next Wednesday.

Strong 1st half powers La Salle past Mercer

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Strong 1st half powers La Salle past Mercer

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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).

B.J. Johnson comes through in the clutch for La Salle

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B.J. Johnson comes through in the clutch for La Salle

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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.