Guard Tyrone Garland scored a game-high 22 points, leading the La Salle Explorers to a 78-59 victory over the Morgan State Bears on Friday night in the opening round of the Paradise Jam at the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
La Salle controlled the opening minutes, jumping out to a 10-2 lead on baskets by Duren and Garland over the first 3:22. Morgan State slowly closed the gap over the next seven minutes, staging a 15-4 run to take a 17-15 lead on a 3-pointer by Blake Bozeman with 9:09 remaining in the first period. The Bears led 23-17 with 4:45 to go, but the Explorers responded with a 13-0 run and took a 32-25 lead into the locker room at the break.
La Salle stretched its lead to nine on a couple of occasions early in the second half. Morgan State again started chipping away, cutting the deficit back down to five, but the Explorers fended off each charge, outscoring the Bears 10-3 over a span of two minutes to take a 51-39 lead with 9:11 to play.