La Salle struggled from the start, missing 18 of its first 20 shots from the floor. The Explorers recovered somewhat, yet still finished just 18-of-54. "We won it with defense,” said OSU coach Travis Ford. The Cowboys alternated defenses throughout, mixing man-to-man and zone, and switching assignments in an effort to slow Explorers leading scorer Rodney Green, who scored 22 points, yet made just seven of his 17 shots. "They did a great job, and we didn’t respond well,” said La Salle coach John Giannini. "When you are not used to that level, it takes you by shock for a little.” The Cowboys forced 15 turnovers.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMOSU’s James Anderson was named Most Valuable Player of the second game after scoring 28 points and adding three assists and two steals. UTEP’s Randy Culpepper voted MVP of the first game, scoring 27 points in an 89-74 win over Oklahoma. Anderson and Culpepper were joined on the All-Tournament team by OSU’s Marshall Moses, OU’s Willie Warren and La Salle’s Green.
UP NEXTThe Cowboys are off until Dec. 29, when Pacific visits Gallagher-Iba Arena. Tip is set for 7 p.m. The Tigers of the Big West Conference are 7-3.
ROUGH TRIPSome of La Salle’s slow start could be attributed to a rugged travel schedule, delayed by the snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast over the weekend. Originally scheduled to arrive early Sunday, the Explorers’ flight out of Philadelphia didn’t get them to Dallas until midnight, well after their connection to Oklahoma City. The team then boarded a bus for the drive up Interstate 35. The Explorers finally checked into their hotel at 3:45 a.m. "I hate to use the clichÃ© of no excuse, but we didn’t bring that up as a reason in the locker room,” Giannini said.