La Salle 63, Kansas State 61: Jerrell Wright matched a career high with 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Explorers held on to defeat the Wildcats in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., after blowing a huge first-half lead.
Wright hit all six of his field goals and went 9-for-10 from the foul line for No. 13 seed La Salle (23-9), which will meet No. 12 seed Mississippi in the third round of the West Regional on Sunday. Ramon Galloway added 19 points for the Explorers.
Jordan Henriquez posted his first double-double of the season with 17 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks to pace Kansas State (27-8). Shane Southwell also chipped in 17 points for the Wildcats.
The Explorers had their way early against the top scoring defense in the Big 12, draining their first three 3-pointers and shooting 58.1 percent in the first half to race out to a 35-16 advantage with 6:04 left before intermission. La Salle held a 44-26 lead at the break – the second-highest point total Kansas State has surrendered in the first half.
The tide completely turned in the second half as Southwell drained a 3-pointer to spark a quick 8-0 run out of the break and the Wildcats took their first lead at 57-56 with 7:09 remaining. Wright hit five of his final six free throws down the stretch – including three over the final 30 seconds – as La Salle grabbed a 63-61 lead with eight seconds left and forced Angel Rodriguez into a difficult shot as time expired.
GAME NOTEBOOK: La Salle survived hitting three of its 18 second-half field-goal attempts. … The Wildcats fell to 108-78 all-time in Kansas City. … The Explorers have notched two wins in the same NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1955.