By Tyler Bischoff
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ole Miss has an opportunity to move on to the Sweet 16 and all that stands in their way is 13th-seeded La Salle.
Both the Rebels and Explorers pulled upsets on Friday, as No. 12 seed Ole Miss knocked off No. 5 seed Wisconsin. La Salle scored just 19 second-half points against fourth-seeded Kansas State, but held on for a two-point victory.
“That’s definitely what the NCAA Tournament is all about, the upsets, to me at least,” junior guard Marshall Henderson said. “I love the upsets.”
Sophomore forward Jerrell Wright scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Explorers victory. He knocked down all six of his field goals, and went 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Senior guard Ramon Galloway added 19 points. Galloway led the Explorers all season averaging 17.2 points per game, the third best mark in the Atlantic 10. Galloway started his career at South Carolina, and during his freshman and sophomore years, he averaged 14.3 points in three games against Ole Miss.
“Galloway is a straight hooper,” Henderson said. “I know he was at South Carolina with Murphy (Holloway), and the coach told him he wasn’t good enough to play in the SEC. Obviously, that coach isn’t there anymore.”
La Salle’s second leading scorer was held in check by Kansas State. Junior guard Tyreek Duren scored just three points on 1-of-7 shooting. Duren averages 14.4 points per game.
The Explorers will be playing their third game in five days, as they had to defeat Boise State in a first round game Wednesday just to get to Kansas City to play Kansas State.
Lost in “Marshall Mania” has been the play of senior forward Reginald Buckner. Buckner has averaged 10.5 points, eight rebounds and 2.8 blocks since the regular season ended. Buckner’s play has given Ole Miss a front court duo that is difficult to match, as senior forward Murphy Holloway is averaging 11.3 points, 10 rebounds and 1.8 steals in postseason play.
“I really put the onus of the team on our three seniors,” head coach Andy Kennedy said. “Ultimately, you’re going to go as far as your upperclassmen take you.”
The Rebels out scored Wisconsin 30-16 in the paint and will look to exploit that advantage against La Salle. The starting center for La Salle, sophomore Steve Zack, has missed the last five games with a sprained left foot. In his absence, La Salle starts four guards and provides a contrasting style to what the Rebels faced against Wisconsin.
Ole Miss and La Salle will tipoff at 6:40 p.m. Sunday, and it will be televised on TruTV.
Henderson has attempted 379 three pointers this season, one shy of the NCAA Division I record of 380. Henderson already holds the Ole Miss single-season records for 3-pointers made and attempted. He is 134-of-379 this year.
Holloway has 337 rebounds this season, which ties him with Dwayne Curtis for the most in a single season by a Rebel. Holloway is already the all-time leading rebounder in Ole Miss history. In his career, Holloway has racked up 192 steals, which places him second in Ole Miss history, and 19 behind Jason Smith for first.
Buckner is the career blocked shot leader in Rebel history with 324. He has the single-season record as well with 96 this season. Four more blocks would give him 100 for the season and move him into fourth on the SEC all-time list.
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