Tough trip to the Big Dance for Bucks talents
KANSAS CITv — Fun while it lasted - those were the words used by Temple guard Khalif Wyatt, a senior from Norristown on his own experience in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
While the ninth-seeded Owls played way over their heads against No. 1 Indiana Sunday in Dayton, leading the way in the Round of 32 bast Region matchup, the road ended for Fran Dunphy’s charges with a 10-0 Hoosiers’ run in the last three minutes of the game that ended with the top seed remaining on top, 58-52.
With a 3-point halftime lead (29-26) and a fourpoint edge (52-48) with 3:09 to go, Temple came up empty on its last six shots including a missed layup by senior Scootie Randall (3 pts.) and a blown dunk by sophomore Anthony Lee (10 pts.).
AIWHU WDNLnJ LWV fiUVW OHDG of the second half on a free throw by Indiana junior Victor Oladipo, the Hoosiers won the game, thanks to an Oladipo three-pointer from the top of the arc that found nothing but net that put his team on top, 56-52, with just 15 seconds remaining.
,n KLV finDO PDWFKuS IRU the Cherry and White, Wyatt led the Owls with 31 points but he took two illadvised jumpers including one from behind the arc at 1:26 and another with eight seconds left.
Local talent Dalton Pepper did not see any action in the duel in Temple’s sixth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. A product of Pennsbury High School from Levittown, Pepper is second on the Suburban One League’s list of alltime leading scorers with 2,20T points (Truman’s Tyrone Lewis, ’06, is tops with 2,211).
After leaving the Falcons in 2009, Pepper played two seasons at West Virginia under head coach Bob Huggins. Two years ago in the second round of the Tournament, Pepper came up with three consecutive steals and back-to-back buckets to help the Mountaineers to an 84-T6 victory over Clemson.
Sunday was Oladipo’s chance to be the hero for his team. He led the way with 16 points while sophomore Cody weller (15 pts.) also stepped up for Indiana, which advances to a Sweet 16 matchup vs. No. 4 Syracuse March 28 at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.
Over in a South Region matchup in Kansas City, No. 9 Villanova dug its way
out of a 20-point first half hole to grab the lead in the second half but was ultimately outlasted by No. 8 North Carolina 78-71 in a second-round battle March 22 at the Sprint Center.
Villanova concluded its season with a record of 20-14 while the Tar Heels (25-10 overall, 12-6: Atlantic Coast Conference) advanced to the Round of 32 only to fall 70-58 to No. 1 Kansas Sunday, March 24 the Sprint Center.
“I want to congratulate North Carolina,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. “They did what they do well, and we didn’t stop it like we wanted to. There were eleven threes for them and four for us. I think that was the key to the game. That’s what they do.”
The ‘Cats shot just 44 percent from the floor and an abysmal 19 percent from three-point range. While local talent Ryan Arcidiacono posted up with a fantastic year in his first for Villanova, he shot just 3-of-19 from the floor including 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.
The point guard for the Wildcats and a product of Neshaminy High School from Langhorne, Arcidiacono averaged 12 points and 3.5 assists per game this season. He also lead ‘Nova with 71 three-pointers and was recently named to the Big East All-Rookie team.
Meanwhile over in the West Region, No. 13 LaSalle continued its Cinderella story with a 76-74 win over No. 12 Ole Miss. Philadelphia’s own Tyrone Garland, a junior guard for the Explorers, chipped in with 17 points including the game-winning bucket with 2.5 seconds left in the battle which took place March 24 at the Sprint Center.
LaSalle sophomore forward Jerrell Wright, a product of Dobbins Tech from Philadelphia, did his part, scoring eight points on 4-of5 shooting from the floor. In a battle that saw the lead change 11 times, Ramon Galloway led the Explorers (24-9) with 24 points. Junior Tyreek Duren, a product of Neumann-Goretti, added 19.
While it took the Explorers 21 years to get back to the Big Dance, LaSalle is making the most of the opportunity, winning three straight NCAA matchups.
Together with its March 22 upset win over No. 4 seed Kansas State and LaSalle’s opening play-in victory over Boise State on March 20 puts the Explorers in the Sweet 16.
The last time LaSalle advanced this far in the tournament, the Round of 16 didn’t even exist. The Explorers advance to face ninth-seeded Wichita State in the West Regional semifinals Thursday (March 28) in Los Angeles.
Neshaminy product Ryan Arcidiacono posted a fantastic year in his first for Villanova, making it on to the Big East All-Rookie Team.