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


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.

La Salle gets quick hook in A-10 tourney

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La Salle gets quick hook in A-10 tourney


WASHINGTON -- C.J. Anderson scored 21 points and Massachusetts held off La Salle 69-67 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.

No. 13 seed UMass (13-19) will face fifth-seeded George Mason (15-16) in a Thursday quarterfinal.

Pookie Powell's 3-point play gave La Salle its last lead, 62-61, before UMass pushed ahead to 68-67 with 44 seconds to play. La Salle's B.J. Johnson blocked Unique McLean's jumper with 14 seconds remaining, but Powell missed a jumper and a 3-pointer in the final eight seconds.

Luwane Pipkins added 15 points, Malik Hines had 14 and Carl Pierre 11 for the Minutemen. Anderson and Pipkens both shot 4 of 7 from long range.

Tony Washington scored 20 points to lead No. 12 seed La Salle (13-19). Johnson and Powell chipped in 18 points apiece.

B.J. Johnson goes out with bang in home finale

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B.J. Johnson goes out with bang in home finale


B.J. Johnson made his final start at home memorable, pumping in 27 points to lead La Salle to a 71-53 frolic over Dayton in the penultimate Atlantic 10 Conference game of the regular season Wednesday night.

The loss knocked the Flyers out of a tie with Richmond for the No. 8 seed and into a tie for the No. 9 seed with George Washington, Duquesne and LaSalle.

The Explorers honored four seniors in their final home game and each played a key role in the win. Tony Washington scored 14 points, Johnnie Shuler dished 11 assists and Amar Stukes added seven assists and made four steals.

La Salle (13-17, 7-10) took a 10-point lead in the first half, holding a 33-23 advantage at intermission, then opened the second half with a 13-5 run.

Trey Landers scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Dayton (13-16, 7-10), with Josh Cunningham and Jalen Crutcher each adding another 10 points.