La Salle Explorers

La Salle falls to Boston College in Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament consolation game

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La Salle falls to Boston College in Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament consolation game


UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Jerome Robinson scored a season-high 25 points to lead Boston College over La Salle 82-61 on Sunday in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.

Nik Popovic had 18 points for the Eagles (4-1). Ky Bowman added 13 points with seven assists and Jordan Chatman 10. Deontae Hawkins had 10 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. All five Boston College starters scored in double digits for the second straight game.

"We have a lot more pieces on offense than we did before and I feel like it's all coming together for us," said Robinson, who was 8 for 14 from the field and 3 for 4 on 3-pointers. "I wasn't comfortable before because there were so many pieces and I had to pick and choose.

"I kind of figured it out today."

Boston College outrebound La Salle 48-30.

B.J. Johnson led the Explorers (3-2) with 27 points, while Pookie Powell added 16. No other player scored more than six points.

"I thought today we just really had a great response after (the loss to Texas Tech)," Boston College coach Jim Christian said. "We knew we were capable of playing a lot better and we came out to prove it."

The Eagles closed the first half on a 10-0 run, with Bowman hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer, to make it 30-22. The Explorers led 17-13 with 10:42 left, but finished the half making just 1 of their last 14 shots.

"It was a big momentum change," La Salle coach Dr. John Giannini said. "The last two minutes of that 10-0 run was a complete momentum change."

Bowman and Popovic each had eight points at the half, and the Eagles scored eight points off eight offensive rebounds.

In the second half, La Salle cut the lead to 40-34 on Johnnie Shuler's 3-pointers inside 13 minutes, but the Eagles answered with a 10-3 run to create some breathing room.

"I'm not really worried about who's scoring, I'm concerned with us making the right plays," Christian said. "I liked the way we played."

BC shot 56 percent in the second half, and 48 percent for the game. La Salle finished at 34 percent shooting overall.

In two losses at the tournament, teams shot 45 percent on the perimeter against the Explorers.

Big Picture
Boston College: The Eagles are getting plenty of offense with at least three players scoring in double figures every game.

La Salle: The Explorers have already found their go-to guy in Johnson, who is a transfer from Syracuse. The fifth-year senior has led the team in scoring four times.

Up Next
La Salle meets its second ranked team of the season, No. 11 Miami, on Wednesday.

Boston College hosts Colgate on Wednesday before ending the month with road trips to Providence and Nebraska.

La Salle names Ashley Howard as new basketball coach

Photo: La Salle University

La Salle names Ashley Howard as new basketball coach

La Salle didn't have to venture outside of the Big 5 to find its new basketball coach.

The university Sunday announced Villanova top assistant Ashley Howard has been hired as the Explorers' next head coach. Howard will be formally introduced in a press conference Monday at 11 a.m. 

"It's an honor and a privilege to be named the head coach at La Salle University," Howard said in a press release from the university. "I chose to coach at La Salle early in my career because of its incredible tradition in the Big 5, its dedication to athletic excellence and its commitment to its student-athletes.  To have the opportunity to return to campus and lead this storied basketball program — a program defined by greats such as Gola, Durrett, Brooks, Simmons and Butler — is one for which I'm deeply appreciative."

Howard, who attended Monsignor Bonner High and graduated from Drexel, began his coaching career in 2004 at La Salle as an assistant to Dr. John Giannini.

"As a former assistant coach here, we know firsthand that Ashley Howard is an exceptional coaching talent who has a deep understanding of both La Salle's basketball tradition and its important student-focused mission," La Salle director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation Bill Bradshaw said. "This is a university that holds character, integrity and commitment to that mission in the highest esteem, and our men's basketball coach has the unique responsibility of reflecting that on and off the court."

After four years with the Explorers, Howard returned to his alma mater in 2008 as an assistant coach for the Dragons until 2012, when he moved over to Xavier as an assistant. 

Following one season with Xavier, Howard returned to Philadelphia as an assistant on Jay Wright's staff, where he experienced two national championships.

"Ashley is an outstanding coach who made a great impact on our program and University in his five years with us," Wright said. "His passion for mentoring young men and teaching skill has been invaluable in our team's development. La Salle has made a terrific selection and all of us at Villanova are thrilled for Ashley, Ariana and Journey as they embark on this new phase of Ash's career."

Giannini's 14-year tenure with La Salle ended in late March when he and the university "mutually agreed to part ways."

Dr. John Giannini out after 14 years as La Salle's head coach

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Dr. John Giannini out after 14 years as La Salle's head coach

After 14 years as the head coach, Dr. John Giannini is out at La Salle.

The university and head coach "mutually agreed to part ways," the school said in a statement.

Giannini will be best remembered for leading the Explorers to the Sweet 16 in the 2012-13 Cinderella season. 

He compiled a record of 212-226 at La Salle.

"I am truly blessed to have the relationships, challenges, and achievements that come from 29 years of being a head coach. In my time, I have witnessed hundreds of coaching changes involving many terrific coaches and schools," Giannini said in a statement. "Today, (athletic director) Bill Bradshaw and I mutually agreed that La Salle University could benefit from a new voice in leading the program. It is difficult to admit this but I have been given every effort possible for success and I have received nothing but support and encouragement from Bill and President (Colleen) Hanycz. 

"Greater things may be accomplished for this storied program and great university with the approach of a new coach. I am forever grateful, especially to my loyal staff and dedicated student-athletes. I look forward to my next challenge and La Salle's future success."