Meet La Salle, your latest bracket buster to emerge from the First Four.

The Explorers, who on Wednesday knocked off Boise State in a play-in game, stunned fourth-seeded Kansas State with an 18-point lead at halftime. The Wildcats, who entered with six top-50 RPI wins, including neutral-floor victories against Florida and Oklahoma State, and a perfect 21-0 against teams with an RPI of 50 or worse, found themselves buried in a deep hole.

Once La Salle (RPI: 46) went cold, however, Kansas State made its move. The Explorers had just three field goals in the second half, one in the final 10 minutes and none in the last 7:55. A 31-12 run keyed the Wildcats’ comeback.

But with the clock winding down and the ball in the hands of their leading scorer, Angel Rodriguez bulldozed towards the baseline and tried to turn the corner towards the hoop. Guard Ramon Galloway held his position well and forward Jerrell Wright dropped down to help on defense. All Rodriguez could do was toss an off-balance attempt that came nowhere close to the rim.

Deadspin’s Timothy Burke makes a good point, though. It looked like Bruce Weber was actually signaling for a 30-second timeout once Rodriguez got caught in the corner.

The nearest referee was too zeroed in on the play to notice. So, led by Wright’s game-high 21 points (6 of 6, 9 of 10 on free throws) and Galloway’s 19 points, La Salle advances to face No. 12 Ole Miss and Marshall Henderson, while Kansas State fails to reach the second round for the first time in five NCAA tournament appearances.

At least football coach Bill Snyder got some food out of it (h/t mocksession).


A viewer’s guide to Friday’s NCAA tournament first-round games

2013 NCAA tournament: Friday’s TV schedule

Jim Larranaga and Bob Thomason, 63 years young, square off | Boeheim sticks around

Marshall Henderson: Love him or hate him? | He passes!

Bog: Why this isn’t the best sporting day of the year

Interactive bracket and NCAA tournament history database

The Bracket Challenge contest (Round-by-round)