On the brink of a choke, La Salle upsets Kansas State

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There are different ways to absorb a smack in the face with the two-by-four. La Salle chose the second half of Friday’s West regional Round-of-64 game against Kansas State.

After shooting 63 percent in the play-in game against Boise, the Explorers blew an 18-point halftime lead against the fourth-seeded Wildcats only to rebound to win 63-61. The Explorers suddenly look a lot like VCU a couple of years ago.

And guess who just feels like it just got hit with a length of maple? The fourth-seeded Wildcats who had momentum and a sold-out Sprint Center behind it.

Forward Jerrell Wright converted all four of his free throws in the final 30 seconds to rally the Explorers back from a 61-60 deficit. Angel Rodriguez’s baseline jumper fell short for K-State as time expired.

"It is the worst feeling in the world," said K-State's Rodney McGruder.

After leading 44-26 at halftime, La Salle was blitzed 31-12 in the first 13 minutes of the second half. K-State’s Rodney McGruder hit a jumper to put the Wildcats ahead 57-56 with 7:12 left. Then the Wildcats had a dry patch of their own missing 10 of their last 11 shots.

The Explorers have traveled from Dayton for the play-in game to Kansas City to play the Big 12 co-champs, barely rested, and now have two tournament wins for the first time since finishing runner-up in 1955. They will play Ole Miss Sunday here in a Round-of-32 game. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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