La Salle Explorers

La Salle holds off Fordham to snap skid

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La Salle holds off Fordham to snap skid

BOX SCORE

Isaiah Deas scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and grabbed eight rebounds and Tony Washington had 11 of his 14 points in the second half to help La Salle hold on for a 75-67 win over Fordham on Wednesday night.

Washington was 6-of-7 shooting and also had eight boards. Saul Phiri scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and Pookie Powell finished with 12 points and six assists for La Salle (8-11, 2-4 Atlantic 10). The Explorers snapped a four-game skid overall and won its third straight in the series.

Will Tavares scored 12 points in a 16-1 run that pulled Fordham (6-12, 1-5 Atlantic 10) within five points after he made back-to-back layups with nearly eight minutes to play. La Salle went more than four minutes without a field goal until Powell hit a 3 and B.J. Johnson's dunk pushed the lead to 68-57 with five minutes left. The Rams trailed by at least eight points the rest of the way.

Tavares scored 18 points to lead Fordham. Prokop Slanina added 12 with a career-best five steals and Joseph Chartouny had 11 points and a season-high nine assists.

Deas hit a 3 to cap a 19-3 run that gave La Salle a 36-22 lead late in the first half and Phiri's tip-in putback gave the Explorers a 21-point lead with 15 minutes to go.

La Salle names Ashley Howard as new basketball coach

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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."