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Former UMaine coach John Giannini guides La Salle to Sweet 16

La Salle Explorers head coach John Giannini yells encouragement to his team during La Salle's last-second win over the Mississippi Rebels in the third round of the NCAA men's basketball tourney at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., March 24, 2013.
By SportsDirect, Special to the BDN

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyrone Garland scored 17 points and hit the go-ahead shot with three seconds remaining as the 13th-seeded La Salle Explorers continued their unlikely NCAA Tournament march to the Sweet 16 with a 76-74 men’s basketball victory over the Mississippi Rebels Sunday night in a West Regional game.

“I’m not scared of anyone. … They call it a Southwest Philly floater in the playground,” Garland said. “When you see a defender, lay it up.”

Ramon Galloway matched a career high with six 3-pointers and poured in a game-high 24 points while Tyreek Duren added 19 points for La Salle (24-9), which will play Wichita State in a West Regional semifinal matchup Thursday in Los Angeles. The Explorers advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1955.

“What a great win and a great weekend. … La Salle is very proud of these guys,” said Explorers coach John Giannini.

Marshall Henderson scored 21 points and Murphy Holloway posted his 14th double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds for Mississippi (27-9).

Galloway drained five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in the first half as La Salle, which led by no more than seven points, took a 40-38 advantage into the break. The Explorers held it until Holloway followed up his own missed free throw at the end of a three-point play with another basket to give Mississippi a 56-55 lead midway through the second half.

Even though the Rebels got 15 consecutive points from Henderson and Holloway, they could not pull away from the resilient Explorers, who retook the lead at 72-71 and pulled even at 74 with 1:07 remaining following a pair of free throws from Duren. Mississippi was unable to convert on the ensuing possession despite a pair of offensive rebounds and Garland made the Rebels pay on the other end with a floater in the waning seconds.

Giannini is a former University of Maine coach who guided the Black Bears’ men’s basketball team to its only two 20-win seasons.

The Black Bears went 24-7 in 1999-2000 and 20-10 in 2003-2004.

He went 125-111 in his eight seasons at Maine including a 75-65 mark in America East.

He led Maine to America East championship game appearances in two of his last three seasons: 2001-02 and 2003-04.

The Black Bears’ America East finals appearance in 2001-2002 was the school’s first since 1994.

The 2003-2004 season was the last time Maine reached an America East final.

Kansas 70, North Carolina 58

Travis Releford scored 22 points and a withering 29-8 second-half run propelled the top-seeded Jayhawks past the Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament third-round game in Kansas City.

Kansas (31-5) ended the season of former head coach Roy Williams for the second consecutive year, moving into the Sweet 16 against Michigan on Friday in Arlington, Texas. The Jayhawks did it with a dominant second half, rebounding from a 30-21 halftime deficit to build a 50-38 advantage en route to head coach Bill Self’s 300th career victory at Kansas.

P.J. Hairston scored 15 points to lead eighth-seeded North Carolina (25-11), which lost to Kansas in the Midwest Regional final last season. The Tar Heels shot 30.1 percent against a Kansas defense that leads the nation in opponent field-goal percentage.

Releford scored with seven seconds left in the first half, then spearheaded the Jayhawks’ charge after intermission. The senior guard scored 10 points during the decisive surge, his tip-in with 14:43 remaining pushing Kansas in front to stay, 37-35.

Jeff Whitey scored 16 points with 16 rebounds and five blocked shots, and Naadir Tharpe hit three 3-pointers off the bench for the Jayhawks.

Ohio St. 78, Iowa St. 75

Aaron Craft hit a 3-pointer with less than a second to play to lift the second-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes over the Iowa State Cyclones 78-75 Sunday in the third round of the NCAA Tournament West Regional at Dayton, Ohio.

Craft, who finished with 18 points, held the ball for the game’s final 29 seconds before launching his game-winner and propelling Ohio State (28-7) into the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight year. Deshaun Thomas paced the Buckeyes with 22 points and LaQuinton Ross had 17 points off the bench for the Buckeyes, who will play sixth-seeded Arizona in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Korie Lucious led four Iowa State players in double figures with 19 points. Will Clyburn added 17 while Melvin Ejim scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Playing 70 miles from their campus, the Buckeyes had to fend off a late Cyclone rally for their 10th consecutive win. Thomas had 13 points as the Buckeyes led 38-36 at the break and Ohio State eventually built a 69-56 lead on a layup by Shannon Scott with 6:07 to play.

Iowa State, which leads the nation in 3-point shooting, scored the game’s next 13 points — punctuated by 3-pointers from Tyrus McGee and Ejim — to roar back into a game that saw 16 lead changes.

Indiana 58, Temple 52

Victor Oladipo scored 16 points — including a critical 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining — as the Hoosiers rallied late to edge the Owls in the third round of the NCAA Tournament East Regional at Dayton, Ohio.

Oladipo added eight rebounds while Cody Zeller overcame foul trouble and six turnovers to score 15 points for Indiana (29-6), which advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. The top-seeded Hoosiers, who won for the first time when scoring fewer than 60 points, will meet fourth-seeded Syracuse in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

Khalif Wyatt exploded for 31 points to lead Temple (24-10), matching his scoring output in the Owls’ second-round victory over North Carolina State. Anthony Lee tallied 10 points and was the only other Owl to finish in double figures.

Wyatt singlehandedly kept the Owls in the game early on. He torched a plethora of Indiana defenders — including Oladipo, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year — and finished with 20 first-half points as Temple settled for a 29-26 advantage at the break.

Even though Wyatt’s offense slowed after hitting a layup to open the second half and Temple led by no more than six points at any point, the Owls held their advantage until Oladipo hit the second of two free throws with 1:19 remaining to give Indiana a 53-52 lead. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson missed a jumper on Temple’s next possession and Oladipo answered with his insurance jumper from the top of the key.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Indiana improved to 11-1 all-time as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. … Three Temple starters (Scootie Randall, Jake O’Brien and Will Cummings) shot a combined 0-for-21 and scored a total of three points. … Jordan Hulls — who set a school record Sunday by appearing in his 134th game — left the contest in the first half after taking a shot to his right shoulder from Randall while chasing a loose ball. He returned at the start of the second half wearing a protective vest and finished with five points.

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