NEW YORK — Fueled by strong shooting from long distance by three of their starters, the La Salle Explorers held off Fordham, 73-71, Wednesday night at Rose Hill Gym.
Junior guard Saul Phiri was a perfect 4-for-4 from three-point range, finishing with 14 points. Isiah Deas returned to his native New York to lead the Explorers with 20 points, including 4-for-8 from three-point range, and six assists. Pookie Powell also contributed from distance, going 3-for-6 and finished with 16 points, including 11 in the second half.
Overall, the Explorers shot 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) on threes, while the Rams (9-10, 0-6) shot only 8-for-25 (32.0). The 14 made threes was a season high.
“Great road win and we’ll take any win we can get right now,” head coach Ashley Howard said. “It’s a learning experience. We did a really good job of staying together for 40 minutes. We didn’t play perfect, but we played together all the way to the end, and it’s a great step in the right direction for us to get another win on the road in conference play.
“There were a lot of teachable moments that we can use to continue to get better. Like we’ve talked about all season, our journey is just about continuing to get better, and I thought we took a step in the right direction today.”
La Salle played its second straight game without freshman guard Jack Clark, who also missed Saturday’s game against Rhode Island with a sore knee, suffered against George Washington last Wednesday.
Deas scored the first points of the game on a three-pointer and La Salle never relinquished the lead in raising its record to 4-14, 2-14 in the Atlantic 10. The Explorers’ largest lead was 16 points, when they pulled ahead, 34-18, on an Ed Croswell layup. La Salle led at the half, 39-30.
After a Powell three with 35 seconds left pulled the Explorers ahead, 73-67, Chuba Ohams hit a layup to cut the Rams’ deficit to four. Deas then fouled Antwon Portley from three-point range with a second left. Portley hit his first two free throws, but missed the third. Onyi Eyisi got the offensive rebound, but his shot was off the mark, and Crosswell grabbed the rebound as time expire.
Portley led Fordham with 22 points. Jalen Cobb and Nick Honor added 15 points each for the Rams.