La Salle 54, Butler 53By Josh Verlin, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Jan 23, 2013 9:20 PM EST
PHILADELPHIA -- It had been so long since La Salle beat a top-10 team, not a soul in the student section was alive to witness that win. For the first time in more than 30 years, the Explorers upset a top-10 team, beating No. 9 Butler 54-53 thanks to an impressive second-half defensive effort and a last-second bucket by Ramon Galloway. Butler center Andrew Smith's layup with 10 seconds remaining put the Bulldogs up by one, and it looked like a back-and-forth final few minutes would end with Butler's 14th consecutive victory. Instead, Galloway took the inbounds pass near the left sideline, drove up the court and, after hesitating for a second, went hard to the hoop with his left hand and the ball dropped through with two seconds remaining. Roosevelt Jones' three-quarter-court shot came close, but bounced off the back of the rim and the La Salle faithful stormed the court. A Tyreek Duren layup put the Explorers on top 50-47 with 3:13 to play after La Salle trailed for most of the game. But the Explorers went silent until the clock was under a minute to play. Smith's layup with 51 seconds remaining, his second in the final two minutes, put Butler back on top, 51-50. Sam Mills answered for La Salle, hitting a floater in the lane to put the Explorers up one with 32 seconds remaining. Jones, who hit Butler's game-winning layup as time expired to beat No. 8 Gonzaga on Saturday, couldn't come up with a magical bucket two games in a row. His tough runner in the lane with 20 seconds left was no good, but Sam Mills missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to set up the wild ending. This was La Salle's first win over a Top 10 team since a 62-60 win over Notre Dame on Jan. 30, 1980. Poor shooting hurt La Salle in the first half against No. 9 Butler, but the Explorers trailed by just five at halftime. A 7-0 run late in the half helped Butler grab a 25-15 lead with 3:47 remaining, but La Salle would answer with back-to-back 3-pointers by Tyrone Garland and Duren to prevent their visitors from blowing the game wide open. The Bulldogs were still without the services of senior point guard Rotnei Clarke, who missed his third-straight game after a hard foul against Dayton on Jan. 12 left him with a sprained neck. Freshman guard Kellen Dunham continued to step up in Clarke's absence, making 4 of his 5 shots for nine first-half points, second only to Roosevelt Jones' 10 for the team lead, as Butler lead 28-23 at the half. Tyreek Duren had seven points to pace La Salle in the early going, while Ty Garland added six on 2 of 7 shooting. The Explorers as a team had issues finding the bottom of the bucket during the opening 20 minutes, making just 10 of 31 (32.3 percent) from the floor, including 2 of 9 (22.2 percent) from 3-point range. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, made 12 of their 23 shots (52.2 percent) but had more turnovers (seven vs. five) and fewer offensive rebounds (three vs. seven). Notes: Butler was La Salle's first top-10 opponent at Tom Gola Arena, which opened in 1998. Villanova had previously been the highest-ranked team to visit when they were No. 12 in 2010. ... La Salle and Butler were both previously part of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, playing each other six times between 1993-95. ... Butler is ranked in the top 10 of both the AP and USA Today Coaches' polls for the first time since Feb. 8, 2008.
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