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Morning madness at La Salle: a festive crowd of students skipping class cheer Explorers to first win of season

Nov 12, 2013, 4:14 PM EDT

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After losing its first game of the college basketball season at home over the weekend, La Salle needed a wakeup call.

It got one … literally.

Today, the La Salle players woke up before 7 a.m. (pretty much the hardest thing a college kid has to do) and defeated visiting Quinnipiac in a 9 a.m. game at Tom Gola Arena (the earliest starting time in program history). The matchup was part of the sixth annual ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, a 24-plus-hour feast of college basketball games from around the country, airing on succession on one of ESPN’s channels.

There are certainly a lot of things you can complain about when it comes to college basketball (the regular season can often seem long and meaningless) and ESPN (where to even begin?). But it’s hard to have any complaints about this TV marathon, which for the past six years has signified the beginning of the college hoops season.

Whether you’re a college hoops diehard, someone who wants to watch sports early in the morning while getting ready for work, or someone that likes watching New Mexico State’s 7-foot-5, 350-pound center finish alley oops without jumping in the middle of the night (don’t act like you’ve never dreamed about this), it’s fun for everybody.

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And in person, it’s even better. This morning the La Salle students had a blast, presumably skipping class, drinking (spiked?) hot chocolate, getting dressed as a giant banana or a superhero, bringing amusing signs and cheering on last year’s NCAA tournament darlings to their first win of the season. (The best sign ranked basketball teams from Connecticut as follows: 1. UConn; 2. Fairfield; 3. Hartford; 4. CCS; 5. Yale; 6. Yale Law; 11. Quinnipiac.)

The La Salle players, of course, talked about the game being all business and handling the early wake-up call just as they would for a weekend practice. But there’s no denying the early-morning game had a lot more juice to it than a regular non-conference weeknight game would.

And for the students who packed Gola, it sure beat going to class.