Do you believe in history?
Kansas State’s Angel Rodriguez fell just short on a potential, game-tying floater in the lane with one second left (yes, K-State will claim he was fouled, but it was a good non-call) and La Salle put the finishing touches on a 63-61 win Friday in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Explorers have two wins in the tourney for the first time since 1955, the year they finished as runners-up for the national championship.
It was another collective effort for La Salle, but no one played bigger minutes than 6-foot-8 forward Jerrell Wright. His rebound, off a Jordan Henriquez miss with nine seconds remaining, showed La Salle can get dirty and cram for loose balls in the paint, if needed. Wright finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, with Ramon Galloway adding 19 points.
No. 13 La Salle, who led Kansas State 44-26 at halftime, will face No. 12 Ole Miss Sunday in Kansas City after the Rebels upset No. 5 Wisconsin.
Temple moving on, too
The Owls moved into the round of 32 with a 76-72 win Friday over North Carolina State. Temple had its way for most of the contest, leading by as many as 17 points, before Khalif Wyatt injured the thumb on his non-shooting hand.
Wyatt, playing with a taped-up thumb, still managed to score 31 points, including six free throws in the final 32 seconds. Wyatt’s 31 points were the most for a Temple player in the tourney since 1991.
Temple, a No. 9 seed, will play No. 1 Indiana Sunday in Dayton, Ohio.