La Salle welcomes Duquesne to Gola Arena Wednesday night

Matt Leon
February 12, 2019 - 3:36 pm
Ashley Howard is in his first season as La Salle head coach.

Courtesy of La Salle University Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The La Salle University Explorers will welcome Duquesne University to Gola Arena on Wednesday night for an Atlantic 10 match-up.

The Explorers had a four-game winning streak snapped last time out on Sunday with a 84-76 loss down in Fairfax, Virginia at the hands of George Mason University. La Salle actually led by two at the break, but then the Patriots outscored the Explorers by 10 in the second half while shooting 52 percent from the field.

"We lost our edge a little bit on the defensive end," La Salle head coach Ashley Howard said of the loss to George Mason.

Despite that defeat, things are really trending in the right direction for the Explorers. Since an 0-10 start to the season, La Salle has won seven of its last twelve games overall and they are 5-5 in the Atlantic 10. 

Howard talks about what has keyed this turnaround.

"It's been the defensive end," he said. "I think we've done a much better job of just remaining connected throughout the course of the game defensively. Not allowing our opponents to get any easy baskets in transition and trying to do a good job of defending the three-point line. The other part of it's been our guys' attitudes and their commitment to getting better every day has enabled us to improve our offense."

This is a good Duquesne team coming to Gola Arena on Wednesday. The Dukes are 16-8 overall and 7-4 in the A-10. Duquesne brings a balanced attack to the table, with six players averaging between 7.4 and 12.7 points a game.

"The key is to limit our turnovers," Howard said of the match-up. "I think Duquesne does a fantastic job of getting out in transition and getting easy baskets. The one thing we want to do is we don't want to give them easy opportunities to score. We want them to have to work and earn every basket they get. So it starts with taking care of the ball on the offensive end and then, on the defensive end, limiting them to one shot possessions. They do a great job of offensive rebounding."

Last season it took three overtimes to determine a winner when these teams met, Duquesne outlasting the Explorers 101-94 in Pittsburgh.

Wednesday night's game gets underway at 7:00 p.m.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.