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La Salle guards D.J. Peterson (1) and O.J. Lewis celebrate following a second-round game against Kansas State in the NCAA basketball tournament at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, March 22, 2013. La Salle defeated Kansas State 63-61. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Friday, March 22, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas State coach Bruce Weber challenged his team at halftime to show some emotion.
It overflowed once the final buzzer sounded.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats had frantically rallied from an 18-point deficit against No. 13 seed La Salle, even taking the lead late in the game. But a sudden cold streak at the worst of times, along with three critical foul shots by the Explorer's Jerrell Wright, left Kansas State stinging from a 63-61 loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
"I asked them at halftime to compete, and they said, 'Coach, we want to win,'" said Weber, his own voice cracking. "We didn't make it. It's sad, sad for our guys."
Wright, who scored a game-high 21 points for La Salle (22-9), made the first of his two clutch free throws to take a 62-61 lead with 30 seconds left in the game.
Kansas State's Jordan Henriquez missed in the paint at the other end, and Wright was quickly fouled, making the first of two more foul shots with 9.6 seconds to go.
The Wildcats (27-8) raced down court, looking for a tying basket, but guard Angel Rodriguez got hung up in the corner near the Kansas State bench. His off-balance shot over the corner of the backboard missed everything, and the Explorers jumped off their bench to celebrate.
"They made the plays down the stretch and we didn't," said Weber, who decided to let his guys freelance on the final possession rather than calling a timeout and designing a play.
As soon as Rodriguez got boxed in, Weber said he tried to get that timeout - but the referees couldn't hear him over the roar of the crowd.
"I guess it's my fault," he said. "I waited too long."
Ramon Galloway scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half, and Sam Mills added 10 points for La Salle, which beat Boise State in one of the First Four games just to reach Kansas City, and now has won two games in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1955.
The Explorers will play No. 12 seed Mississippi, which knocked off fifth-seeded Wisconsin 57-46 earlier in the day, for a spot in the round of 16 in a suddenly shredded West Region.
Mississippi 57, Wisconsin 46
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Wisconsin's vaunted defense did its job, holding Mississippi to its lowest point total of the year.
It was the suspect offense that failed. The Badgers put up 59 shots against Ole Miss on Friday but made only 15 of them. So Bo Ryan's team headed home after a loss that snapped a six-year string of first-game wins for one of the NCAA's most consistently successful programs of the past 15 years.
"A lot of times with a good team like that, things will spiral away from you," said Sam Dekker, who had 14 points and was the only Badger in double figures. "They just outworked us in the last 8 or 9 minutes, really took it to us, and we didn't know how to handle it."
Marshall Henderson, Mississippi's flamboyant guard, missed 12 of his first 13 shots and was 0 for 6 from 3-point land when he finally connected for a long 3-pointer. Then he remained unusually stoic and businesslike while scoring 17 of his 19 points in the second half and leading the Rebels to a 57-46 victory.
"We knew Henderson was going to get going," said Dekker. "I thought we did a good job on him in the first half making him hit tough shots. He got hot, did what he does. I think that was part of the difference."
To Ryan, it was a season-like weakness catching up with the Badgers.
"We won a lot of close games, beat a lot of good teams," said Ryan. "But again, it's not a team that really shot the ball well all year. It happened again."
Ohio State 95, Iona 70
DAYTON, Ohio - Sam Thompson had career highs with 20 points and 10 rebounds, part of a dominating performance by Ohio State's front line, and the Buckeyes ran away to an easy victory over Iona in the second round of the West Regional.
The second-seeded Buckeyes (27-7) are in prime March form with nine straight wins, including their last five games of the regular season and a run to the Big Ten tournament title.
Forward Deshaun Thomas has led them in scoring during the streak, averaging 17.6 points per game. He had 24 points as the Buckeyes' fast breaks led to dunks and a season high in points, thrilling the large Ohio State contingent.
Aaron Craft had a season-high six steals and seven assists for the Buckeyes. Shannon Scott tied his career high with 10 assists.
Ohio State plays either Notre Dame or Iowa State on Sunday, one win away from a fourth straight trip to the round of 16.
"We have a lot of confidence," Thompson said. "We know that if we come out and do the things we're supposed to do on both sides of the ball, we could beat any team in the country."
Iona (20-14) returned to the court where it suffered the biggest meltdown in NCAA tournament history last year, blowing a 25-point lead. The Gaels are 1-9 all-time in the tournament with their only win - over Holy Cross in 1980 - later vacated because of NCAA violations.
Tavon Sledge scored 20 points for Iona, which had 19 turnovers that led to 29 of the Buckeyes' points.
Buckeyes coach Thad Matta had his best moment - yes, singular - as a college player at University of Dayton Arena, hitting a game-winning shot for Butler. His visits as Ohio State's coach haven't been so pleasant. The Buckeyes failed to make it out of Dayton intact in their two previous NCAA appearances, going 1-2 overall.
No late drama in this one.
Harvard 68, New Mexico 62
SALT LAKE CITY - Give those Harvard kids an A-plus in another subject: Bracketbusting 101.
Wesley Saunders scored 18 points and Laurent Rivard made five 3-pointers to help the 14th-seeded Crimson pull the biggest upset of the first full day of NCAA tournament games.
The Ivy League advanced for the first time since a very good Cornell team made the regional semifinals in 2010. The Mountain West Conference, judged one of the top two leagues in college basketball all season, fell to 1-3 so far this week.
Harvard will play Arizona today. The Crimson (20-9) put the clamps down on New Mexico's Tony Snell, holding him to nine points on 4-for-12 shooting after he dominated in the MWC tournament. They banged inside with Lobos big men Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk, whose 22 points provided New Mexico's only consistent offense.
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