March 24, 2013

La Salle 76, MIssissippi 74

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The last time La Salle advanced this far in the NCAA tournament there was no round of 16. The field was only 24 teams.

Tyrone Garland banked home a scooping layup with 2 seconds left and 13th-seeded La Salle beat Mississippi 76-74 on Sunday, vaulting the Explorers to their deepest run in the NCAA tournament since they played for the championship in 1955.

Ramon Galloway had 24 points for the upstarts from the Atlantic 10. The Explorers (24-9) played their third game in five days but showed no sign of fatigue.

In the round of 16 in Los Angeles on Friday, the Explorers will meet ninth-seeded Wichita State.

No. 12 Ole Miss (27-9) led 74-72 with 1:58 left but failed to reach the regional semifinals for the first time since 2001.

After Tyreek Duren's two foul shots tied it 74-all at the 1:07 mark, Mississippi star and team lightning rod Marshall Henderson missed an off-balance bank shot that would have given the Rebels the lead.

Henderson had 21 points in a game with 11 lead changes.

Duren had 19 points for La Salle and Tyrone Garland had 17. Murphy Holloway had 14 points for Mississippi, which fell one win shy of breaking the school record. Jarvis Summers had 12 and Nick Williams had 10 for the Rebels, who were a miserable 10 for 21 from the foul line.

In the frantic final seconds, Mississippi's LaDarius White missed from the top of the key and the ball scooted out of bounds while everybody went for the rebound.

The Rebels were given possession and Henderson's off-balance shot failed to draw iron. Before he could launch another try, the buzzer sounded, giving La Salle possession with 33.2 seconds left even though Henderson pleaded with an official, saying, "He took my hand off."

The Explorers brought the ball up court, with most everybody expecting Galloway to take the shot. But Garland worked his way inside and threw up a scooping bank shot over Reginald Buckner.

Jarvis Summers missed a desperation heave for Ole Miss.

Galloway, a 6-3 guard and the Explorers' lone senior on the starting five, played the entire 20 minutes of the first half and drilled 5 of 8 3-pointers while scoring 19 points.

Henderson's high, arching 3-pointer put the Rebels on top 20-18 but Garland, for the second time in the first half, stole a Mississippi pass and drove in, eventually getting a La Salle bucket. Duren's three-point play capped a 7-0 run and gave the Explorers a 25-20 lead.

Henderson's 3-pointer helped the Rebels tie it 25-all, then Galloway swished an unguarded 3-pointer and ignited a 10-3 La Salle run. Duren, after Galloway stole the ball in the Ole Miss backcourt, sank a free throw for a 35-28 lead.

Henderson missed his first three shots, but then began finding the touch and canned three 3-pointers, including one from the right side just ahead of the buzzer that sliced La Salle's lead to 40-38.

Trailing by four with 2:56 left, the Hoosiers (29-6) closed with a 10-0 run and advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year. After stopping to tell Temple's players they're as good as any Big Ten team, Crean, his red tie askew and his hair messed, was overcome by emotion.

"That," he said, "was relief."

Indiana, with its sights set on a sixth national championship, will play No. 4 seed Syracuse in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Washington, a rematch of the classic 1987 title game won by the Hoosiers.

Wyatt scored 31 points to lead the Owls (24-10), who for 37 minutes gave top-seeded Indiana all it could handle before collapsing when it mattered most.

"We competed really hard," Wyatt said. "We battled. A couple plays here and there, we win. It was just a tough battled game, and they came out on top."

Oladipo, who drew the assignment of chasing Wyatt around the floor and needed plenty of help from his teammates, scored 16 and Cody Zeller added 15 for the Hoosiers, the regular-season Big Ten champs.

"If they were in our league, they'd be fighting for a championship too," Crean said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that. They're that good."

After Oladipo's long 3 put the Hoosiers up 56-52, Indiana had to buckle down on Wyatt, the Atlantic 10's Player of the Year. Wyatt was way off with a 3-pointer from the right wing with six seconds left and Indiana's Christian Watford grabbed the rebound and was fouled.

With his hands on his hips, Wyatt walked dejectedly up the floor as Dayton Arena rocked and the senior pounded his chest. The Hoosiers' heartbeats finally slowed. On Saturday, Gonzaga became the first No. 1 seed to be knocked off and, until Wyatt's miss, Indiana was in danger of zigging with the Zags.

Instead, Indiana will pack up and head to the nation's capital and a homecoming for Oladipo, who is from Upper Marlboro, Md.

After Watford, who earlier made a huge block on Anthony Lee with Indiana trailing 52-50, hit two free throws to seal the win, the red-and-white-clad Indiana faithful relaxed and celebrated much the way Big Ten brethren Ohio State did earlier, when Aaron Craft's 3-pointer in the final second beat Iowa State and pushed the Buckeyes ahead in the West Regional.

Wyatt nearly turned this tournament into his national coming-out party. Despite playing with an injured left thumb, Wyatt, who also scored 31 in the opener against North Carolina State, gave the Hoosiers fits. With the score tied at 52-all, he broke free from Oladipo, but missed a 3-pointer and Indiana got the rebound.

Oladipo was fouled, and during a stop in action, Wyatt stared at the ball at his feet and yelled in frustration. Oladipo split a pair of free throws, but he was able to keep the ball from Wyatt on Temple?s next trip, which ended when Rhalir Hollis-Jefferson?s contested shot missed everything.

Then, with Indiana needing a score to open some breathing room, Oladipo hit a shot Hoosier fans will add to the pantheon of big ones by IU players.

"I was just open, and I shot it," Oladipo said, downplaying his heroics.

Indiana senior Jordan Hulls, who has played in more games for the Hoosiers than any other player, returned in the second half with a protective wrap on an injured right shoulder. He knocked down a 3 with 8:49 left to pull the Hoosiers within 41-40 and give Indiana's fans something to do other than complain about the officiating.

Scoring from inside and out, and looking into the crowd after every made shot, Wyatt had 20 points in the first half. And although he missed a 3-pointer in the final second, the senior clapped his hands and let out a high-pitched "whoooop" as he headed to the locker room with the Owls leading 29-26.

The three-point deficit at the break matched Indiana's largest this season, and the Hoosiers hardly looked like themselves for much of the opening 20 minutes.

But in the second half, Indiana used Oladipo, Remy Abell, Sheehey and even Zelller on Wyatt, who found it much more difficult to get to the basket - or even an unobstructed look at it.

"It was fun while it lasted," he said.