Rushed Reactions: #13 La Salle 80, #13 Boise State 71Posted by IRenko on March 20th, 2013
I. Renko is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from Dayton after Wednesday’s play-in game between La Salle and Boise State. Follow him on Twitter @IRenkoHoops.
Three Key Takeaways:
- La Salle Executed Its Offense to Perfection — The Explorers feature a four-guard attack that runs something of a dribble-drive offense. They try to space the floor, drive, kick, and reverse the ball until they get a good shot, either off the dribble in the lane or from behind the three-point arc, where they shoot a healthy 37.1 percent. Tonight they executed this approach perfectly, scoring repeatedly on dribble-drives or threes off of kick outs and ball reversals. They shot 62 percent from the field and 51 percent from the three-point line. It was a highly impressive offensive performance that likely had Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber squirming in his seat.
- Drmic Didn’t Get Any Help — For much of the game, Boise State’s Anthony Drmic was almost single-handedly carrying the offense. The sophomore swingman finished with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting (5-of-10 from three-point range). Derrick Marks, who averages 16.3 points per game, had just two points through the first 30 minutes of action. Marks heated up late, but by then, the Broncos were in a double-digit hole that was too steep to climb out of.
- La Salle Knows How to Take Care of the Ball — At various points, in an effort to slow down La Salle’s explosive offense, Boise State started applying some ball pressure, picking up three-quarter court and aggressively guarding the perimeter. It made little difference. La Salle’s experienced backcourt takes excellent care of the ball. Their turnover rate on the year is a low 17.3 percent, and they committed just 10 miscues tonight. Remember, this is a team that beat VCU and its vaunted Havoc defense on the road by eight points. They’re not easily rattled.
Star of the Game: Junior guard Tyrone Garland may be one of the most underappreciated sixth men in the country. The Virginia Tech transfer is a whirling dervish who is a key cog in La Salle’s dribble drive attack. He never hesitates to show you what he can do off the bounce, dazzling on half-court drives and full-court breaks. He finished tonight with a team-high 22 points on an outstanding 9-of-11 field goal shooting. He added three assists and though he typically struggles with his outside shot (26.6 percent three-point shooter), he hit half of his three-point attempts tonight (2-of-4).
Quotable: “We don’t just want to get selected, we want to make a run. We want to show that LaSalle can play with the best teams in the country. […] Every day, it’s win or go home. We want to make a statement.” — La Salle senior guard Ramon Galloway, on the Explorers’ Tournament goals
Sights & Sounds: Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg took over First Four game-calling duties tonight, which was great news, because Kellogg is a great guy. I spotted him walking down a hallway in the nether regions of the building with a big grin on his face (for no particular reason other than just being joyful, I guess) and was taken aback when he greeted me with a hearty “Hey man, how ya doing?” with the kind of enthusiasm you save for a friend you haven’t seen in a long time.
Wildcard: The Explorers have a four-guard attack, but tonight, the oft-forgotten fifth man, center Jerrell Wright, came up big for them. He finished the game with 13 points on a tidy 6-of-7 field goal shooting. He was especially valuable early in the second half, when he scored six points in the first three minutes coming out of halftime, helping to hold off a charging Boise State.
What’s Next? La Salle makes the trek to Kansas City to play Kansas State in front of what is likely to be a pretty hostile crowd on Friday.