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La Salle holds off Kansas State

After an upset marked by defense, La Salle’s D.J. Peterson, Sam Mills and Ramon Galloway start the celebration.

MCT

After an upset marked by defense, La Salle’s D.J. Peterson, Sam Mills and Ramon Galloway start the celebration.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John Giannini kept calling timeouts as La Salle's big lead kept slipping away, an 18-point halftime advantage wiped out by fourth-seeded Kansas State's comeback.

The coach's message every time was simple: keep playing defense. The Explorers finally answered his challenge.

Jerrell Wright made three free throws in the final 30 seconds, and the No. 13 seed from the Atlantic 10 buckled down on defense in the closing minutes of a 63-61 upset win Friday in the second round.

"Every timeout, every time we came in, he was riding us on defense," said Ramon Galloway, who scored 19 for La Salle. "We had to stick together, dig down deep and get some stops."

The Wildcats didn't make another field goal after Jordan Henriquez's layup with 4:54 to play. Kansas State only managed a free throw by the 7-footer with 2:25 left the rest of the way.

That gave the Explorers (22-9) the window they needed.

Wright, who scored a game-high 21, made his first two clutch free throws to give La Salle a 62-61 lead with 30 seconds left. Henriquez missed, then Wright made the first of two free throws with 9.6 seconds to go.

The Wildcats (27-8) raced downcourt, but guard Angel Rodriguez got hung up in the corner. His off-balance shot over the corner of the backboard missed everything, deflating a partisan crowd.

"They made the plays down the stretch and we didn't," said Kansas State coach Bruce Weber, who let his players freelance on the final possession rather than calling a designed play.

Ole Miss 57, Wisconsin 46: Rebels demonstrative guard Marshall Henderson missed 12 of his first 13 shots and was 0-for-6 on 3-pointers when he finally hit a long 3-pointer. Then he remained unusually businesslike while scoring the rest of his 19 points and leading 12th-seeded Mississippi (27-8) past the fifth-seeded Badgers (23-12) in Kansas City, Mo.

"You can't go a little crazy when you go 1 for your first 17," he said. "I know what I can do and what I can't do, and that's not the time, no."

Henderson's futility reached its zenith with about 12 minutes to go when he fumbled the ball into the hands of Sam Dekkar, who raced downcourt for a layup and a 36-30 Badger lead.

On the next possession, Henderson hit that 3-pointer, and the game quickly changed.

"There's no question Marshall Mania affects the psyche of the other team," said Rebels coach Andy Kennedy. "How can you avoid it? Marshall this, Marshall that."

It was the first NCAA Tournament win for Ole Miss in 12 years and snapped a string of six straight first-game wins for the Badgers (23-12), who shot 15-for-59 against a zone defense, including 7-for-30 on 3-pointers.

"We won a lot of close games, beat a lot of good teams," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan. "But again, it's not a team that really shot the ball well all year. It happened again."

Ohio State 95, Iona 70: Sam Thompson had career highs with 20 points and 10 rebounds, part of a dominating performance by the Buckeyes front line, and second-seeded Ohio State (27-7) beat the 15th-seeded Gaels (20-14) in Dayton, Ohio.

The Buckeyes have won nine straight. Forward Deshaun Thomas has led them in scoring during the streak, averaging 17.6 points. He had 24 points Friday as fastbreaks led to dunks and a season high in points, thrilling the large Ohio State contingent.

Iona got within 37-33, then Ohio State ended the comeback with the game's most sensational play. Thompson reached behind his body with his right arm to snag Shannon Scott's alley-oop pass for a dunk.

Even Buckeyes coach Thad Matta, a traditionalist when it comes to scoring style, enjoyed the dunk show.

"It's something kids thoroughly enjoy doing, probably to a fault," Matta said. "I think guys growing up would probably rather be able to dunk than run a clean pick-and-roll. So we've tried to scale them down in terms of that. Honestly, I want the two points, and let's run back and play defense."

Iowa st. 76, notre dame 58: Freshman Georges Niang matched a season high with 19 points and the 10th-seeded Cyclones (23-11) routed the No. 7 Fighting Irish (25-10) in Dayton, Ohio. Notre Dame played its final game as a member of the Big East and joins the ACC next season. Iowa State led the nation in 3-pointers, but the Cyclones were just as effective from short range.

La Salle holds off Kansas State 03/22/13 [Last modified: Saturday, March 23, 2013 1:19am]

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