La Salle gets to take its uncharacteristic approach—not much size but lots of shots and lots of points—back to a city that has a little nostalgia for the Explorers.
Tyrone Garland led the guard-driven offense with 22 points, and the Explorers wrapped up the NCAA tournament's First Four by getting the better of an old-fashioned shootout, beating Boise State 80-71 on Wednesday night.
It was a notable moment for the 13th-seeded Explorers (22-9), who hadn't even been in the tournament for 21 years. Now, they head to Kansas City to play fourth-seeded Kansas State on Friday.
Kansas City? That's the place where they beat Bradley to win the national title in 1954.
"Unbelievable tradition here," coach John Giannini said. "I think people have tended to have forgotten what a basketball power La Salle was for over four decades. So it's a big deal. It's a big deal to re-establish that. It's a big deal for people who attended La Salle and love La Salle, who had great basketball, and certainly they've longed for that."
In the first game, A.J. Davis stepped in for James Madison's suspended leading scorer and had 20 points, leading the Dukes to a 68-55 win over LIU Brooklyn.
James Madison (21-14), which won its first NCAA tournament game in 30 years, next takes on top-seeded Indiana, also in Dayton.
The Dukes were without suspended starter Rayshawn Goins for
Davis opened the game with an emphatic 3 as if to say this was his time. And he didn't let up.
"Coach said, 'Don't do anything outside of your character, just be humble and play your game,'" Davis said. "While Rayshawn was sitting out, a couple of guys came off the bench and stepped up for us."
Charles Cooke, who hadn't scored in three of his last four games, added 15 points and defensive specialist Andre Nation added 14 for the Dukes, who were winless in the NCAA tournament since 1983.
Jamal Olasewere had 20 points and 10 rebounds and C.J. Garner 16 points for the Blackbirds, who have lost in their first game in each of their six trips to the tournament, including the last three years.
Goins, JMU's leading scorer (12.7) and rebounder (7.4), was suspended for the first half following a weekend arrest. Police in Harrisonburg, Va., said they were called to break up a party early Sunday morning and Goins was shouting obscenities at them. He looked out of synch when he got into the game, but later added four points in the decisive run that put the game out of reach.
Now, the Dukes have taken a step toward reminding people how dangerous they used to be.
Lou Campanelli coached the Dukes to mammoth NCAA upsets over Georgetown in 1981, Ohio State in 1982 and West Virginia in 1983. The 1982 team lost to eventual national champion North Carolina—led by Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins—52-50 in the final minute.
But James Madison's last appearance came with Lefty Driesell prowling the sideline in 1994.
Coach Matt Brady figured his Dukes have one huge advantage over Indiana since they've already played on the court. And they're already in Dayton.
"I'm hoping they haven't arrived in town just yet and they get here right before the game starts," he said with a laugh.
La Salle was in a mood to remember history, too. And, maybe to make a little more as well.
It'll be tough to play any better on offense in KC than they did Wednesday night.
Ramon Galloway, one of the Atlantic 10's top scorers, added 21 points in a fast-paced offense that did pretty much whatever it wanted. The Explorers shot a season-high 63 percent from the field—16 of 22 in the second half.
Garland went 9 of 11 from the field—his best shooting game of the season—and the Explorers were 11 of 21 behind the arc.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Garland said. "When I came here, coach told me I could help him win games and get him to the next step."
Thirteenth-seeded Boise State (21-11) got its first at-large bid and was looking for the first NCAA tournament win in its history. The Broncos were up to it in a game of try-to-top-this shooting, falling to 0-6 in the tournament.
Anthony Drmic had a game-high 28 points for the Broncos, who shot 49 percent but trailed most of the way.
"They shot incredible tonight," Drmic said. "All credit to them."
AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Dayton contributed to this report.