La Salle's storybook run through the NCAA tournament came to a crashing halt early Friday morning. The Explorers were decisively beaten in the Sweet 16 by Wichita State, 72-58.
Wichita State was just too good. Gregg Marshall had his team ready to shut down La Salle at the perimeter, and on offense the Shockers pounded the ball inside relentlessly. Malcolm Armstead led all scorers with 18 points. Carl Hall added 16 points, all from two-point range, and added eight rebounds.
As a team, Wichita State scored 40 of its 72 points in the paint, and just 15 from three-point range.
The Explorers were beaten decisively on the glass, and were especially vulnerable at the Shockers' end of the floor. Wichita State pulled down 17 offensive rebounds to La Salle's 20 defensive rebounds, and enjoyed a 47-29 advantage overall.
Jerrell Wright, La Salle's only interior threat, and Tyrone Garland led the Explorers with 16 points. Garland shot 5-for-15 from the field. Ramon Galloway added 11 points, though he shot just 4-for-15 from the field - including missing his first six attempts. Tyreek Duren was held to eight points on 3-for-7 shooting, and four assists.
Here's one more stat to consider. Coming into Friday's game, 45.3 percent of La Salle's field goal attempts on the season had been 3-pointers. Against Wichita State, 32.1 percent of the Explorers' shots were taken from beyond the arc. That's a huge difference.
Read Marc Narducci's game recap and columns from Bob Ford and Mike Jensen. The complete box score is here.
There will be complete coverage from Los Angeles in Friday's Inquirer and Daily News, and right here on Philly.com.
Matchup: W9. Wichita State vs. W13b. La Salle, NCAA Tournament Round of 16
Time: 10:34 p.m. EDT
Venue: Staples Center, Los Anglees, Calif.
TV/Radio: TBS (Kevin Harlan, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller and Lewis Johnson)/WNTP 990-AM
Tonight, La Salle's NCAA tournament fairytale takes the stage in Hollywood. Unfortunately for us, the game will start way later than ought to be reasonable. It's too bad that Ohio State and Arizona are bigger ratings draws than the most popular thing going in the nation's fifth-largest media market.
But I'll be staying up, and I know a lot of you will too. So join me for live updates and commentary as the Explorers take aim at the Shockers, with a berth in the Elite 8 at stake.
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