La Salle Comes Back From 15 Down to Beat St. Joe’s… Again

I needed another break…

Earlier today, I learned that 12 year old Thomas Sidero was fatally shot by Philadelphia police officers Tuesday evening after a bullet was fired into the police cruiser. The bullet that went through the window and passed through the passenger-seat headrest.

According to police reports, two officers got out and fired at Thomas, who they said was carrying a semiautomatic handgun that was equipped with a laser. One of the officers shot him in the upper right back area once. The bullet exited through his chest, police said.

Thomas Sidero, a Philly pre-teen, was dead minutes after being shot… fuck!

The drumbeat is incessant… It’s bad in ‘round the way… Really bad… Shit just piles up…

To escape from reality for a couple of hours, I decided to attend the second annual game to determine who will wear shirts and skins during the play-in portion of the A10 tournament.

La Salle Head Coach, Ashley Howard during a timeout.

Last year, Ashley Howard and the Explorers won the first game they played against the Hawks. In that game, Jared Kimbrough played his finest game as an Explorer, tallying 24 pts, 6 rebs and 1 blk.

Right before the second Hawk-Explorer contest on February 20, 2021, Superman showed up at Hagan. He emerged from the Hawk locker room with a long flowing crimson cape, trimmed with grey silk, around his neck. Ryan Daly scored 30 points, shot 13-19 FG, 3-6 3FG, grabbed 7 rebounds, dished 2 assists and blocked 2 shots after missing after missing 2 months and 10 games between Dec. 21 and Feb. 20 due to a broken thumb and torn ligaments on his left hand suffered against Tennessee.

Less than 2 weeks later… The Explorers, donning shirts as the 12th seed, faced the 13th seeded Hawks (skins) again in the play-in game. Although St. Joe’s was skins, no one told Ryan Daly he could put his cape back on one last time and lead what had been a moribund group of Hawks to a victory in a first round A10 tournament game. I watched as Daly searched for, found and entered the few remaining phone booths in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia. Over the course of two weeks and 4 games, he emerged from phone booths with his muthafuckin’ cape on every time… In the A10 tournament game against La Salle, he scored 23 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, dished 2 assists, got a steal and even blocked a shot.

Less than 24 hours later, UMass found some kryptonite. The Minutemen controlled Daly and smacked the Hawks by a final score of 100-66… Season over.

Last night… we got the second installment of this year’s trilogy.

Howard greets Lange before the game.

The Hawks and Explorers faced one another at 20th and Olney. Once again, this game was to determine who will wear shirts and skins in the A10 tournament’s 12/13 play-in game. St. Joseph’s was firmly in control of this scrimmage throughout the first half and early in the second half. Indeed, with 17:52 remaining in the game the score was St. Joe’s 39 – La Salle 24. Lange and the Hawks were up 15… Things were looking good…

Funny thing happened… an old fashioned intense, hotly contested Big 5 basketball game broke out…

For the last 17 minutes of the game it felt like Rich Tarr, Tim Legler, Larry Koretz and Lionel Simmons were once again wearing the blue and gold. The Explorers, despite a dreadful shooting night, refused to lose to the Hawks.

They clawed, kicked, scratched and fought their way back into the game. The Explorers commitment to defense was the key to the game. La Salle won this game by stopping St. Joseph’s from scoring. They held St. Joseph’s to a meager 12 points for the entire second half.

La Salle was just the tougher team. The Explorers wanted the win more than St. Joe’s.

Jhamir Brickus, La Salle point guard

As a result, just like last year St. Joe’s will be skins when the A10 tournament begins next week.

However, this time Superman has left the building… Ryan Daly accepted his SJU sheepskin, framed it, hung it on the wall and moved on to the professional ranks. All is not lost though… I’m sure he left the cape somewhere on campus. That thing has been handed down for generations… It looked really good on Galloway, Bembry, Carroll, West, Nelson, O’Connor, Crenshaw, Bey, Myers, Bass, Townsend, Blunt, Curry, etc. Especially, this time of year…

On many occasions, those guys went into phone booths and came out with the cape flowing ready to kick some ass… We’ve see these dudes literally carry St. Joe’s to victory in exciting, meaningful A10 Tournament, NIT and NCAA tournament game action.

So… there’s only one question remaining: Who’s gonna put the muthafucka on for this St. Joe’s team?

Hall? Obinna? Funk? Reynolds?

Somebody… Anybody… Hello… Bueller…

It’s really hard to win college basketball games… Wins in a tough league like the A10 can be especially tough to accumulate… Let’s compare the A10 coaching records of some familiar names…

Hall of Fame Coach, John Chaney won 3 out of every 4 A10 games he coached. Fran Dunphy won more than 7 out of every 10. Coach Cal won almost 7 out of every 10. Brusier won 2 out of every 3. Phil won well over half of the A10 games he coached. These guys were, at various times, A10 standard bearers.

Last night, Ashley Howard strong arm wrestled his 24th A10 win away from Lange and the Hawks. Atlantic 10 wins have been scarce the past three seasons for Saint Joseph’s which now fallen in each of its last seven contests heading into a final regular season game against Rhode Island. The Hawks have lost 10 of their last 12.

They are struggling to close out with leads… Somehow… Lange and St. Joseph’s held La Salle to 49 points for the game… and lost.

They lost because La Salle played the entire game realizing they only needed to score 1 more point than St. Joseph’s. So, even while shooting a poor 32.8% from the floor and 21.4% from behind the 3 point line they remained fully engaged at the defensive end and were able to pull out a win.

La Salle Assistant Coach, Pat Chambers

La Salle decided St. Joe’s would not score. The Hawks’ 27.4 field goal percentage represented the worst mark by a La Salle opponent this season. Saint Joseph’s scored 12 points in the second half, a season low for the team.

With this win, the Explorers improve to 2-0 against the Hawks on the season. La Salle also defeated Saint Joseph’s 75-64 on Jan. 17. The two teams are virtually locked into 12/13 play in game for the A10 tournament next week. La Salle sits in 12th place in the A10, 9-18 overall and 4-13 in the A10.

Now in his fourth season as Head Coach, Howard has struggled to gain a foothold in the A10. Thus far, he has won a little more than one out of every three league games.

But the last 2… Those big wins are keeping hope alive…

La Salle Freshman, Khalil Brantley provides a spark off the bench.

Last week, Khalil Brantley scored 17 points as La Salle erased a 30-19 halftime deficit and defeated Dayton 62-60 on Saturday. Clifton Moore had 16 points and three blocks for La Salle which snapped its five-game losing streak. Jack Clark added 13 points and nine rebounds.

Last night, Brantley provided 11 hard-earned points, including a 3-pointer that tied the game at 48-48 with 1:27 to play. Jhamir Brickus had 10 points, Jack Clark grabbed six rebounds, Clifton Moore had seven blocks and Christian Ray had 10 rebounds.

After they close the regular season with last-placed Dusquense and Rhode Island respectively, La Salle and St. Joe’s will meet for yet a third time.

The two Philly A10 schools will face off in the first game of the first round of the conference Tournament on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 a 1:00 pm. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Two things for sure… Ryan Daly won’t don a cape next week for St. Joe’s and the Lange’s Hawks will be skins after surrendering a 15 point second half lead…

Check rock!

Thomas Sidero was 12… He was just twelve…

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