La Salle is off to a quick 3-0 start, largely due to their defense, but also because of the hot shooting by Auburn transfer Jordan Price to start the year. Price was named the Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week on Monday, after averaging19.5 points per game in two wins for the Explorers last week.
He’s impressed coach Dr. John Giannini, who hopes to see more of the same from Price as the season progresses.
“He’s terrific defensively,” said Giannini. “He is the one guy we have that can make something out of nothing, and obviously we depend on that,”
The Explorers are set to face arguably their toughest stretch of the season in an upcoming home-stand against eighth-ranked Virginia, twelfth-ranked Villanova and Big 5 rival Temple. Giannini talked about his team’s defense so far this season, which he expects will keep them in games for the rest of the season.
“If you keep playing defense like this, we are going to win in spite of our offense,” said Giannini. “We have offensive work to do, but we have to be thrilled with our effort and our consistent defensive effectiveness. … We have held every team we have played to the 30’s, just so you know. Going into this game we were in the top-25 in defensive field goal percentage, so this isn’t a new thing.”
Currently, the team ranks 20th in the country in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 53.3 points per game. Opponents are shooting just 35-percent from the field against them.
But their brutal stretch coming up is full of teams of a different caliber, and the team won’t have much time to prepare for their different styles of play. They face Virginia on Nov. 28, Villanova on Dec. 3 and Temple on Dec. 6, a span of just eight days. Villanova just did away with No. 14 VCU 77-53 on Monday night, who’s expected to finish atop La Salle’s Atlantic 10 Conference this season.
In the interim, however, the team is enjoying it’s time being undefeated and is happy with their efforts.
“We should be thrilled,” said Giannini about his team’s play. “We are playing terrific defense, we are 3-0. Obviously we are struggling offensively but you can’t let that affect our attitudes or our defense.”