Tuesday, May 19, 2020

When the Explorers sailed the College Seas

The Atlantic 10 is the eighth-ranked conference, which puts them in some good company, but outside the list of heavyweights. And La Salle was ranked 9th in the 14-team A-10. All of which means that the Explorers are not exactly on everyone's watch list of teams that ought to achieve great things these days.

However, just before Mr. Russell and San Fransisco took the college basketball world by storm, there was Tom Gola and La Salle. As a freshman, he led the Explorers to the 1952 NIT championship. Then they won the NCAA in 1954 and were runners-up in 1955. They made it to the Sweet 16 in 2013.

How did La Salle do it? Well, largely on Gola's capable shoulders. He averaged 20.0 ppg and 19 rpg over his four-year career, and is the all-time leading career rebounder in NCAA history, with 2201 boards.

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