"The key to tonight's game is the same key for every game involving a
four-guard team — make shots. The more shots the Explorers make, the
fewer rebounds will be available for them not to grab. If it seems
simple, that's because it is. Small teams can't afford to be
inefficient." — pregamer
La Salle was pretty inefficient Thursday night. The Explorers opened 4 of 18 from the field and closed the first half just 8 of 30. The Shockers, meanwhile, shot better than 50 percent in the opening frame and out-rebounded La Salle, as expected, by 14 boards to take a 16-point lead into the half.
Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall told his team during the break that La Salle would either shrink the lead to 10 points and make it a game or that his team would further press it to 20. The latter happened almost immediately, and La Salle never got any closer than 11 the rest of the way.
The final score: Wichita State 72, La Salle 58. La Salle shoots 35.7 percent (20-for-56) to Wichita's 44.8 (30-for-67) and gets out-rebounded, 44-23. Ramon Galloway and Tyrone Garland combine to go 9-for-30 from the field.
And the problem — La Salle's ball movement, or lack thereof. The Explorers were at their best this year when they were moving the ball and making teams chase them, setting the pace offensively and dictating matchups at both ends. They were at their worst, however, when they stood around and settled for lazy iso after lazy iso, which they did too often in the first half, digging themselves into an early hole.
Then there's the matter of just getting dominated on the glass. There's a lot less they could have done to remedy that issue.
All credit for winning three games and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen is due, but La Salle was fortunate to receive a favorable draw against teams — Boise State, Kansas State, Ole Miss — against whom its lack of height wouldn't be an issue. That luck ran out in Los Angeles, when the Explorers couldn't create nearly enough quality opportunities to hang with a larger opponent.
In a lot of ways, La Salle fans won out just by seeing their team get as far as it did for the first time in nearly six decades.
A memorable Big 5 run has reached its end.
This is posted in the La Salle locker room. # LaSalleProud twitter.com/SportsTalkPhil…
— David Grzybowski (@SportsTalkPhila) March 29, 2013