Wichita State 72, La Salle 58: Inside game leads way for Shockers

By Associated Press  • 
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LOS ANGELES — Wichita State went from sweet to elite, beating La Salle 72-58 last night to reach the final eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 32 years.

Malcolm Armstead scored 18 points, Carl Hall 16 points and freshman Ron Baker 13 for the ninth-seeded Shockers, who proved their upset of No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the third round was no fluke.

The Shockers advanced to the West Regional final on Saturday against No. 2 seed Ohio State. Wichita State (29-8) tied the school’s 2010-11 team for most victories. That group won the NIT.

Jerrell Wright and Tyrone Garland led the Explorers (24-10) with 16 points each. Ramon Galloway, who averages a team-leading 17.4 points, was limited to 11 for a program that won the 1954 NCAA championship and reached the 1955 national title game.

Wichita State dominated inside, owning a 47-29 rebounding edge and outscoring La Salle 40-26 in the paint, helped by Hall, who had 14 points in the first half.

The Shockers limited La Salle to 36 percent shooting — the same as Gonzaga shot in its second-round loss.

Hall sat down with his third foul while La Salle was busy whittling its deficit to 11 points by attacking the rim. But the Explorers never got within single digits, and Armstead scored nine straight points to push Wichita State’s lead to 62-47. Another 6-0 spurt, capped by Cleanthony Early’s dunk, made it 68-48.

The Shockers hit two straight three-pointers to open the second half and push their lead to 22 points.

La Salle turned aggressive, answering with a 10-0 run to close to 44-32, with Wright scoring the first seven points and Galloway making a three-pointer.

The Explorers got shocked to start the game, with Wichita State outscoring them 14-2. The Shockers ended the half on a 9-1 run, including five by Baker, to lead 38-22 at the break. La Salle was limited to 27 percent shooting.

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