La Salle 76, S. Carolina St. 63

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP)—Gary Neal scored 23 points and La Salle shot 53 percent from the floor in a 76-63 victory Monday over South Carolina State in the first round of the Dr Pepper Classic.

La Salle (4-6) scored 10 of the game’s first 12 points, then closed out the first half with a 17-6 run capped by a Steven Smith dunk that made it 44-25 at the half.

South Carolina State (3-5) got as close as 11 at 70-59 on a layup by Dimitri Evans with 1:06 left.

David Bell and Smith had 14 points for the Explorers, who shot 57 percent in the first half and made 8-of-16 3-pointers for the game.

South Carolina State was led by Thurman Zimmerman with 23 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. Brian Mason had 20 points.

The Bulldogs shot 35 percent for the game.

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