PHILADELPHIA — Tyrone Garland and Ramon Galloway hopped on the scorer’s table, stretched their arms in celebration, and took in the mayhem. Out on the court, their La Salle teammates were lost somewhere in a swarm of gold-shirted students who made Gola Arena their own mosh pit.
The Explorers had knocked off mighty Butler and a decade of mediocre basketball was forgotten in a flash.
Out of timeouts, Galloway sprinted the length of the court for the winning basket with 2.7 seconds left to send La Salle to a 54-53 victory over No. 9 Butler on Wednesday night.
Fans stormed the court in wild elation for the biggest win for La Salle (13-5, 3-2 Atlantic 10) in 33 years. There was some confusion after Galloway’s basket and fans were ordered off the court. Butler had attempted a last-second heave that was way off the mark. Officials huddled with both coaches and they decided the final score stood. It was mayhem again as fans rushed the court for the second time in minutes.
Let them celebrate twice: La Salle hadn’t defeated a top 10 team since 1980.
“It’s the greatest feeling ever,” Galloway said. “It’s one of the greatest wins ever in my life. I know it is for my teammates, too.”
Butler (16-3, 3-1) had lived on last-second victories this season, including a buzzer-beater Saturday against Gonzaga. Just not at La Salle.
Andrew Smith’s layup with 8 seconds left put Butler ahead 53-52 and it appeared the Bulldogs would survive another thriller.
Not so fast. Galloway took the inbounds, drove past Smith and Roosevelt Jones and banked the shot for the stunner that helped flood the court with delirious fans. La Salle last defeated a Top 25 team on March 3, 2001 against No. 18 Saint Joseph’s, 91-90. The last time La Salle defeated an top 10 team was on Jan. 30, 1980, against No. 8 Notre Dame, 62-60, according to STATS LLC.
La Salle’s Sam Mills hit a jumper with 32 seconds left to make it 52-51. But Mills missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to give Butler the ball with 10.9 seconds left. Smith gave Butler the short-lived lead. Galloway hit the basket to remember.
“You could tell how everybody celebrated how happy they was,” guard Tyreek Duren said.
Galloway, battling some family issues, broke down in tears in the postgame press conference as he talked about his family.
Duren had 16 points and six assists and Mills scored 11 for the Explorers. La Salle shot 52 percent (13 of 25) from the field in the second half.
Butler’s leading scorer Rotnei Clarke missed his third straight game with a severely sprained neck. No decision has yet been made about Saturday’s home game against Temple.
Clarke was hurt when he crashed head-first into a padded basket support at Dayton on Jan. 12.
But Clarke’s absence hadn’t slowed the surging Bulldogs until Wednesday. Butler had won 13 straight including Saturday’s buzzer-beater over then-No. 8 Gonzaga, 64-63. The streak has moved the Bulldogs into the top 10 for the first time since Feb. 18, 2008.
They won’t be ranked there much longer. Smith scored 16 points, Kellen Dunham hit three 3-pointers and scored 15 points and Jones had 14.
“I’ve got to do a reasonable job of keeping this in perspective,” Butler coach Brad Stevens said. “We basically won at Dayton without Rotnei. We beat Richmond and Gonzaga without Rotnei, and we lost a one point game at La Salle against a very good team without Rotnei. I think we have to keep that in perspective and move on.”
This was the second time in two nights students rushed the court in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, Villanova fans stormed the Wells Fargo Center after a 73-64 win over No. 5 Louisville. This one meant a bit more at La Salle.
“It was a dramatic win for our players, our fans, our students. It was awesome,” coach John Giannini said. “But am I going to tell you I’m shocked that we won? Absolutely not.”
La Salle goes for two upsets in two games when it plays Saturday at No. 19. Virginia Commonwealth.
La Salle trailed by 10 points in the first half but never let the game get too far out of control.
Duren hit a 3 to make it 38-35 and Mills made two from the free throw line to cut Butler’s lead to one. Duren drove the lane for the 41-40 lead and suddenly 3,400 fans sounded like 34,000. Garland followed with a 3 that gave La Salle a four-point lead and put the upset only 7:40 away.
La Salle was once like Butler back when Tom Gola, a three-time All-America, led the program to consecutive trips to the NCAA championship game in 1954 and 1955. The Explorers won the 1954 national championship.
But the team wouldn’t remain among the elite and lean times hit the program for most of the last two decades. La Salle hasn’t played in the NCAA tournament since 1992 and last season’s NIT berth was its first since 1991.
For most of Wednesday night, the underwhelming decades didn’t matter. Gola Arena, pretty much a high school gym plopped on a city campus, was packed with 3,400 fans full of school spirit and thirsting for an upset. Yes, the Explorers were a 2-point betting favorite, but the oddsmakers were the only ones who considered the Bulldogs an underdog.
Butler could not shake La Salle in the first half. Galloway dunked off a turnover to keep it a three-point deficit, and Garland and Duren buried consecutive 3-pointers to cut Butler’s lead to 28-23. Butler’s 52 percent shooting to La Salle’s 32 percent helped the Bulldogs lead 28-23 at halftime.
NO. 7 INDIANA 72, PENN STATE 49
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Victor Oladipo scored 19 points, and Yogi Ferrell added a season-high 15 to help Indiana rout Penn State.
The Hoosiers (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten) survived a sluggish shooting first half with strong defense and used a fast second-half start to reassert their dominance in this series.
D.J. Newbill had 18 points and Jermaine Marshall finished with 12 to lead the Nittany Lions (8-11, 0-7), who have lost seven straight overall and 12 straight on the road in league play.
While limiting Penn State to 29.6 percent shooting in the first half, Indiana used runs of 7-0, 8-2 and 12-5 to take a 33-19 lead.
The Hoosiers wasted no time taking control in the second half, going on an 8-0 spurt in the first 65 seconds to extend the lead to 41-19. Penn State couldn’t get closer than 17 points the rest of the way.
NO. 8 FLORIDA 64, GEORGIA 47
ATHENS, Ga. — Scottie Wilbekin scored 17 points to help Florida shake off a sluggish first half and romp past another Southeastern Conference opponent.
The Gators (15-2, 5-0) trailed 27-24 at halftime, making just 1 of 9 attempts beyond the 3-point arc. But Florida quickly turned things around after the break. Wilbeken and Mike Rosario hits back-to-back 3s and forced Georgia into three straight turnovers.
The Gators led the rest of way, holding Georgia (7-11, 1-4) to only one field goal in the first 11½ minutes of the second half.
Despite never leading in the first half, Florida added to its run of dominance in conference play. The Gators have won their first five SEC games by an average of nearly 25 points.
NORTHWESTERN 55, NO. 12 MINNESOTA 48
EVANSTON, Ill. — Jared Swopshire scored 16 points to lead Northwestern past Minnesota.
In a game where baskets were hard to come by at times, the Wildcats (12-8, 3-4 Big Ten) made just enough shots down the stretch to beat a ranked opponent for the second time in three games while sending the Gophers (15-4, 3-3) to their third straight loss.
Alex Marcotullio made a 3-pointer midway through the second half to give Northwestern a one-point lead and start the decisive 13-2 run.
Reggie Hearn scored 13 points after averaging 21 in the previous two games. Tre Demps added 10 points, and the Wildcats shook off a loss to Indiana and took out another ranked team to go with their victory over then-No. 23 Illinois last week.
They prevailed despite getting outrebounded 45-31 because they held Minnesota to its lowest point total of the season.
NO. 15 NEW MEXICO 66, COLORADO STATE 61
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tony Snell scored 23 points and New Mexico held off a late Colorado State rally.
The Lobos (17-2, 4-0 Mountain West) led 54-32 with 12:26 left before the Rams (15-4, 2-2) began a comeback behind Dorian Green. He scored 11 points in a 20-5 run that cut the lead to 59-52.
Colorado State’s Wes Eikmeier hit a 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds left that made it 64-61, but Snell converted two free throws to preserve the victory.
Snell scored six points in a pivotal 10-0 run that turned a 27-25 lead with 4 minutes left in the first half into a 37-25 advantage early in the second half.
Eikmeier led Colorado State with 20 points and Green finished with 14.
NO. 16 OREGON 68, WASHINGTON STATE 61
EUGENE, Ore. — E.J. Singler scored 19 points and Oregon rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Washington State.
Singler scored 14 points in the second half for the Ducks (17-2, 6-0 Pac-12), who trailed 39-29 at halftime before pulling out their eighth straight victory.
Arsalan Kazemi added 16 points for Oregon and Damyean Dotson had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Mike Ladd had 19 points and Brock Motum scored 14 for the Cougars (10-9, 1-5).
Singler took over 5 minutes into the second half with the Ducks trailing 44-38. The senior forward scored 10 straight points, tying the score at 46-all with the second of his consecutive 3-pointers. His free throws at the 11:45 mark gave the Ducks their first lead, 48-46.
The Cougars went back up 53-52 on a layup by Royce Woolridge with 7:38 to play, but Kazemi answered with a dunk off a pass from Singler, and Dominic Artis made a 3 as the Ducks took a 57-53 lead. They led the rest of the way.
DRAKE 74, NO. 17 CREIGHTON 69
DES MOINES, Iowa — Richard Carter scored 20 points and Drake handed Creighton consecutive losses for the first time this season.
Ben Simons added 13 for the Bulldogs (9-10, 3-5 Missouri Valley Conference), who blew a 16-point lead before rallying for their first win over a ranked opponent in five years.
Grant Gibbs brought Creighton within 71-69 with 32 seconds left, and the Bluejays got the ball back on a steal. But Gibbs missed a layup and Simons sealed the win with a steal and two free throws with 0.5 seconds left.
Doug McDermott had 21 points to lead Creighton, which shot just 24 percent from 3-point range. But McDermott had just four points in the second half and didn’t touch the ball on Creighton’s last two possessions.
NO. 20 WICHITA STATE 62, MISSOURI STATE 52
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Cleanthony Early scored 17 points, Carl Hall added 15 and Wichita State rallied past Missouri State.
The Bears, behind freshman Gavin Thurman, used a 19-1 run to take a 33-25 lead with 16:13 remaining in the game.
The Shockers came away empty on their first five possessions of the second half then Early and Hall got more active in the offense, scoring all but two of the points in a 16-2 run that gave Wichita State a 41-35 lead with 10:53 to go.
The Shockers (18-2, 7-1 Missouri Valley Conference), who were playing just days after upsetting then-No. 12 Creighton, remained in first place in the conference.
Thurman had 21 points to lead Missouri State (5-15, 3-5), which lost its fourth straight.