La Salle falls to Vanderbilt in Barclays Center Classic

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Vanderbilt Commodores forward Jeff Roberson drives past La Salle center Steve Zack (0) during the first half at Barclays Center. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK - For the second night in a row, a slow start derailed La Salle, but unlike Friday, there was no madcap comeback.

The Explorers got behind by 30-20 at halftime and never made a serious second-half run during a 68-55 loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday night in the consolation game of the Barclays Center Classic.

During Friday's 64-56 loss to Virginia, La Salle (4-2) trailed by 18 at the half and by 20 with a little more than 13 minutes left before cutting the lead to 58-54 when Jordan Price hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1 minute, 12 seconds left.

The closest La Salle came in the final 20 minutes against Vanderbilt was 30-22, when Jerrell Wright scored the first basket of the second half.

In the two games, La Salle never held a lead.

"We came to be tested this weekend, and, frankly, we failed our test," La Salle coach John Giannini said.

The crowd was silenced four seconds into the game when referee Rick Crawford fell to the floor after being inadvertently hit in the head by the left elbow of Vanderbilt's Damian Jones during Jones' follow-through on the opening tap.

There was about a 10-minute delay, and Crawford was removed from the court by stretcher and taken to nearby Brooklyn Hospital. After the game, Crawford said he was "good" and remembered what happened.

"I never felt like I blacked out and was aware of everything around me, which is good," Crawford said.

Jones, Vanderbilt's 6-foot-10 sophomore who attracted a few NBA scouts to the game, had 16 points and seven rebounds. He was one of four double-figure scorers for the 5-1 Commodores.

Wright, limited to six points against Virginia, scored 19 points against Vanderbilt.

"Playing these teams will make us better in the long run," Wright said.

Price, who entered the game as La Salle's top scorer (19.4 ppg.), was held to nine points by 6-6 freshman Jeff Roberson.

"I thought the key to the game was the job Jeff Roberson did on Jordan Price," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said.

La Salle shot just 8 for 26 (30.8 percent) in the first half.

 


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