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.