Following his gritty 31-point performance in a 68-61 (14-5, 4-2 A-10) win over No. 19 VCU (16-5, 4-2 A-10) on Saturday night, La Salle senior guard Ramon Galloway had a point to make about his team.
“You know nothing about our program if you’re surprised we’re beating good teams,” he said.
Coming off a week in which the Explorers knocked off two ranked opponents, Galloway and head coach Dr. John Giannini were adamant about the fact that their team was not in the business of pulling off upsets, but in winning games.
“We understand that this is a big step but we’ve got to play at this level every time,” continued Galloway. “It just can’t be that we beat Butler and we beat VCU, then we come out and play like trash against U-Mass.
“We don’t want to have the mindset of upsetting teams, we want to be in the mindset of beating teams we can beat,” he said.
Galloway had only six points in La Salle’s 54-53 win over No. 9 Butler on Wednesday, but made the most important play of the game when he scored the game-winning layup with just over two seconds left. He played all but two minutes against the Rams Saturday night, hitting four 3-pointers and 9-of-10 free throws.
“If they did an A-10 player of the year to this point in the season, I believe it would be him,” said VCU point guard Darius Theus.
The well-rounded wing player from Philadelphia is not just capable of lighting up the scoreboard, as his team-high 17.2 points per game shows. The A-10’s third-leading scorer is also fourth in the conference in steals, his 2.4 per game behind only VCU’s Briante Weber (3.1), Charlotte’s Pierria Henry (2.7) and Theus (2.7).
He also leads La Salle in assists with 3.1 per contest.
Galloway was a major part of a defense which held Treveon Graham, Troy Daniels and Rob Brandenberg to a combined 10-of-34, as the Rams’ first, second and fourth leading scorers were held to an inefficient 30 points Saturday at the Siegel Center.
While the Explorers’ guards combined for nine steals in the win, including two from Galloway, La Salle big men Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack struggled shooting and on the defensive end. In a combined 40 minutes, Zack and Wright combined for only six points and were collectively manhandled throughout the night by Juvonte Reddic.
Reddic’s 22 points and 10 rebounds earned him his sixth double-double of the season, as the junior power forward went toe-to-toe with Galloway for most of the night. However, a couple big defensive plays by the sophomore center Zack kept Reddic from leading VCU back within striking distance in the final minutes.
Meanwhile, Galloway continued to hit big shots from the perimeter and driving to the basket. He also went 8-of-8 from the free throw line in the final two-and-a-half minutes. In that stretch, the Explorers’ two-point lead grew to eight.
With losses to La Salle and Richmond, VCU has now lost as many games in a span of three days than they had in a two-month span from Nov. 24 to Jan. 24. In both losses, it was outstanding efforts by the opposing team’s guards which made the difference. Darien Brothers and the Spiders made 12 3-pointers to VCU’s three in Richmond’s overtime win on Thursday.
This is the second time the Rams have had a two-game losing streak so far this season.
“We got punched in the mouth two times,” Theus said after the game. “Now we got to regroup and go back to what we do.”
VCU travels to Rhode Island (6-12, 1-4 A-10) Wednesday to face the other Rams of the A-10 for the first time as conference opponents. The Explorers host Massachusetts (13-5, 3-2 A-10) with the same tip-time of 7 p.m.