La Salle basketball propelled by smaller lineup

When No. 13 La Salle defeated No. 4 Kansas State in the second round of the NCAA tournament, gasps were heard around the country. But if you hold a magnifying glass up to the Explorers’ roster and record, it should come as no surprise that they were able to hold their own and move from the First Four to the round of 32.

“They found something last year when they won 21 games and they found a formula,” Jon Rothstein, CBS Sports Network Insider said. “And that’s that four-guard formula that they use. If you play smaller, it forces the other team to match up with you. One of these things we are seeing when Tyrone Garland comes in off the bench, all of a sudden you have four people who can put the ball on the floor.”

While Kansas State’s starting roster also contained four guards on paper, 6-foot-6, 210-pound junior, Shane Southwell was utilized as more of a forward during the matchup, according to Rothstein.

La Salle’s resiliency stems from transfer guard Ramon Galloway, who scored 19 points against Kansas State. Galloway transferred from a prominent athletic program at South Carolina. He plays alongside guards Sam Mills, Tyreek Duren and D.J. Peterson. Starting these guards enables La Salle to run the floor at a breakneck pace. Guard Tyrone Garland, who came off the bench, transferred from Virginia Tech.

“Kansas State played a virtual home game because they played in Kansas City,” Rothstein said. “[La Salle] had a situation where they had an 18-point halftime lead. They relinquished the lead and they had enough resiliency to come back and get the victory. It was an unbelievable win for La Salle and a statement win for the tournament.”

La Salle also got big numbers from sophomore guard Jerrell Wright, who scored a team-high 21 points and was 6-for-6 from the field.

“[Jerrell Wright] got a lot of big baskets, he got us over the hump, he helped us in the game, obviously he made the game-winning free throw, so I think he really helped us get over the hump,” La Salle coach John Giannini said in a postgame interview on truTV. “Other than that, we have good kids who just keep grinding. ”

La Salle will go on to the third round and face No. 12 Ole Miss, which knows a little something about the upset after defeating No. 5 Wisconsin 57-46 in the second round.

Follow Adena Andrews on Twitter @Adena_Andrews.

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