Tough trip to the Big Dance for Bucks tal­ents

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - By Steve Sherman

Buck­sLo­calS­ports Ed­i­tor

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.

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