For the first time in what seems like a decade, Butler’s magic appears to have worn off.
After Andrew Smith’s third bucket in the final two minutes put Butler up 53-52, South Carolina transfer Ramon Galloway drove the length of the floor, finishing a layup on the left side of the rim with two seconds left on the clock. A prayer from Roosevelt Jones went unanswered, and the Explorers picked up a 54-53 win.
Galloway, who is La Salle’s leading scorer at 17.0 points-per-game, actually had a relatively quiet night. He finished with just six points on 3-10 shooting from the floor. It was Tyreek Duren and Sam Mills that did the heavy lifting for John Giannani’s club, with Duren leading the way with 16 points, six assists, five boards, three steals and two blocks.
La Salle actually has a pretty talented ball-club. Their back court is good enough to matchup with anyone in the conference, and they have a chance to make some noise in the Atlantic 10. For that to happen, however, they need to defend their home court, which is precisely what they did on Wednesday. The Explorers follow this up with a trip to Richmond to take on VCU on Saturday, and with a win there, all of a sudden La Salle is in the bubble picture.
As far as Butler is concerned, this is really the first time that they have looked like they miss Rotnei Clarke. The Bulldogs have a tendency to struggle against teams that have bigger, more athletic back courts, and in the second half, La Salle was able to take the Bulldogs out of some of their sets.
One last note: to those that say the college basketball season doesn’t matter, Galloway was in tears of joy after the win:
Ramon Galloway: “This is an incredible feeling.” He’s crying, tears of joy
— Josh Verlin (@jmverlin) January 24, 2013