La Salle v Ole Miss

Tyrone Garland’s ‘Southwest Philly floater’ sends La Salle to Sweet 16 (VIDEO)

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The “Southwest Philly floater” sends La Salle to the Sweet 16.

Tyrone Garland’s shot (and yes, he did name it on TV following the game) with 2.5 seconds remaining proved to be the difference in the Explorers’ 76-74 victory over West Region 12-seed Ole Miss, punching their ticket to Los Angeles where they’ll take on 9-seed Wichita State Thursday night.

Senior Ramon Galloway scored 24 points, Tyreek Duren 19 and Garland 17 to lead the way for La Salle (24-9), which entered the First Four in Dayton having not won an NCAA tournament game since 1990.

Three wins later and this group of Explorers has done something that Lionel Simmons, Doug Overton and the rest of that 1990 team was unable to accomplish. And La Salle, which returns to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1955, did so despite a lack of front court depth against an Ole Miss team that features Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner inside.

The Rebels (27-9) out-rebounded La Salle 40-30 on the night, grabbing 18 offensive rebounds and scoring 20 second-chance points. But they were unable to shake the Explorers, as La Salle shot 49.1% and outscored Ole Miss 27-12 from beyond the arc.

That statistic, along with Ole Miss shoot a putrid 10-of-21 from the foul line, essentially set the stage for Garland’s heroics. Ole Miss shot 4-of-19 from three with Marshall Henderson accounting for all four makes (and 15 attempts). Henderson finished the game with 21 points and Holloway added 14 points and 13 rebounds, but the eccentric shooting guard wasn’t on the floor for the game’s final play.

Subbing Henderson out for defensive reasons, Ole Miss did not call its final timeout following Garland’s floater and that’s a decision quite a few will question in the days to come. But with a school-record 27 victories, it’s difficult to say that this season was anything but a success for Andy Kennedy’s program.

But the story is La Salle, a team that nudged its way into the NCAA tournament field and wasn’t expected to hang around too long given the late-season injury suffered by forward Steve Zack. But with their guard play and tough forward Jerrell Wright the Explorers have won three straight, and they’ll be playing for a spot in the Elite 8 next week.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.