Thursday, March 21, 2013

Big Five makes headway in Big Dance, as La Salle beats Boise State

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Magazine


Dayton, OH -- Tyrone Garland led four players in double figures with 22 points on 9-of-11 from the field, as La Salle used a hot- shooting performance to dispatch Boise State, 80-71, in first-round action of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Garland said. "When I came here, coach told me I could help him win games and get him to the next step."

Ramon Galloway totaled 21 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Explorers (22-9), who waited 21 years for another crack at the NCAA Tournament and didn't disappoint thanks to a 63.3 percent effort from the floor.

Sam Mills drained five 3-pointers en route to 15 points and Jerrell Wright added 13 with six rebounds.

The first of three Philadelphia-based programs to take the floor became the first to advance, winning their first tourney game since 1990 and earning a shot at fourth-seeded Kansas State in the West Region on Friday.

"Unbelievable tradition here," head coach Dr. John Giannini said. "I think people have tended to have forgotten what a basketball power La Salle was for over four decades. So it's a big deal. It's a big deal to re-establish that. It's a big deal for people who attended La Salle and love La Salle, who had great basketball, and certainly they've longed for that." 

Anthony Drmic's game-high 28 points -- including five shots from beyond the arc -- wasn't enough for the Broncos (21-11). Derrick Marks had 14 points, seven boards and five assists, while Ryan Watkins contributed 10 points in defeat.

Garland and Mills connected on back-to-back treys to give the Explorers a 68-56 margin with 7:15 to play, and a runner from Galloway pushed the edge to 72-58 less than two minutes later.

Mikey Thompson hit two free throws and Kenny Buckner added one more to pull the Broncos to 74-66 with 2:36 remaining, and after Wright bricked a pair from the line, a Barnes bucket made it a six-point spread with 1:51 left.

Tyreek Duren then missed a layup, and Buckner missed the front end of a 1- and-1 after being fouled when pulling down the rebound.

Garland hit both of his attempts for a 76-68 game, and a tip from Marks after a pair of missed three-pointers by Drmic made it a six-point spread once more.

But Galloway made his last shot and Duren sank a pair from the charity stripe to seal it.

"'We didn't shoot the ball that bad,'' Drmic said. ''Give them credit. But it starts with defense. We didn't come to play defense. We couldn't stop them driving, so I'm not very happy with that.''

La Salle led 10-6 in the early stages, and the Explorers stretched their advantage to 25-12 thanks to a 12-1 run, ending on a Galloway trey -- the last of his five points in the surge -- with 9:12 on the clock.

Boise State reeled off five straight points, but two baskets from Garland and a slam off the break by Galloway provided a 31-17 lead with under 5 1/2 minutes before intermission.

It's a blessing. I mean, I never thought that we'd be in the NCAA Tournament playing and making a statement for La Salle, but here we are,and I'm happy as can be because I've never been here," Galloway admitted. "It's my last year. So it's every college player's dream."

The Broncos pulled within 35-27 at the break on a Drmic three-point play.

Galloway's shot from long distance opened up a 44-34 edge for La Salle early in the second half, and when Garland and Mills were true from beyond the arc on consecutive possessions, it was a 52-38 game.

Boise State managed to answer triple for triple in the next several minutes, but was unable to reduce its deficit to any meaningful number.

Notes: La Salle dropped a 78-76 decision to Seton Hall on March 19, 1992 in first- round action of the East Region, and last tasted victory in the NCAAs on March 15, 1990 in a 79-63 triumph over Southern Miss in the East Region ... Boise State shot 49.1 percent, but only 7-of-18 from beyond the arc, while the Explorers connected on 11-of-21 tries from long distance ... Duren posted just four points and five assists with two steals ... Buckner finished with six points and seven rebounds ... The Broncos fell to 0-6 all-time in the premier March tournament.
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