DAYTON, Ohio — On the anniversary of its 1954 national championship, La Salle had four players score in double-figures led by Tyrone Garland’s 22 points, lifting the Explorers to an 80-71 victory over Boise State in a First Four matchup played Wednesday night at University of Dayton Arena.
Ramon Galloway scored 21 points for La Salle (22-9), which advanced to face No. 4 seed Kansas State in the second round Friday at 3:10 p.m. in Kansas City. The Explorers have lost all three meetings with KSU, the last coming in 1994.
Sam Mills also had 15 and Jerrell Wright scored 13 for the Explorers.
Anthony Drmic almost single-handedly kept Boise State (21-11) in the game Wednesday, scoring 28 points with five 3-pointers. Derrick Marks added 14 points for the Broncos.
The Explorers, led by former University of Maine head coach John Giannini, forced nine turnovers and had three steals in the first half. While Boise State settled down offensively in the second half, it struggled to guard an athletic La Salle squad.
Wright, who had just two points in the first half, erupted for eight points in the first 4:17 of the second half. Wright’s dunk put the Explorers ahead 41-32.
A 3-pointer by Garland gave La Salle an 11-point lead. Mills followed with a 3-pointer to make the score 52-38.
Behind Drmic, Boise State kept the game relatively close until the Explorers pulled away late in the second half.
La Salle, which is 15-1 this season when recording 14 or more assists in a game, got its 15th assist in Wednesday’s game on a dish by Garland that Wright slammed home putting the Explorers ahead 70-58 with 6:32 remaining.
La Salle took control early in Wednesday’s game, shooting 56-percent including 41.7 from 3-point range in the first half.
Mills began the game 3 of 5 from the field including three 3-pointers to put the Explorers ahead 16-11.
D.J. Peterson scored off an assist from Galloway, putting La Salle ahead 22-12 and prompting a Broncos timeout with 9:45 left in the first half.
Galloway’s 3-pointer pushed the Explorers’ lead to 25-12.
Boise State went scoreless for more than three minutes in the first half, and La Salle took advantage.
Consecutive baskets by Tyrone Garland gave La Salle a 12-point lead. Garland’s perfectly placed lob pass resulted in a thunderous dunk by Galloway to make the score 31-17.
Drmic scored 11 points in the first half as Boise State tried to stay close. The Broncos trailed by eight points at halftime.
NOTES: Boise State earned the school’s first at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Its previous berths resulted from winning the Big Sky and Western Athletic Conference Tournaments. … La Salle made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 21 years. … Wednesday was the 59th anniversary of the Explorers’ 92-76 win over Bradley in the 1954 NCAA championship game. .. Wednesday’s First Four matchup was the first meeting between Boise State and La Salle.