La Salle’s dancing shoes still fit

phl_lasalle2_6c_18
The Explorers are back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1992.
Rikard Larma/Metro

La Salle had already waited 21 years. So what was another 45 minutes?

In a tense room Sunday night, one filled with players and coaches, the Explorers watched Villanova and Temple (and every other team in the country) learn their fate in the NCAA tournament.

Finally, La Salle saw its name in the field of 68 and the players erupted with a massive celebration. For the first time since 1992, the Explorers are headed to the Big Dance.

La Salle (21-9) will play No. 13 seed Boise St. (21-10) Wednesday (9:10 p.m.) in Dayton, Ohio. The winner will face No. 4 Kansas State in the West Region.
Since losing to Butler in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament, La Salle was forced to play the waiting game. This time, the wait was worth it. The Explorers are in.

“It was so hard waiting that I almost wanted to walk out of the room,” said guard Tyreek Duren. “I kind of had a headache because it was hard to watch and not knowing. Then, when you see your name called, it’s incredible. I’m so emotional right now that I almost don’t know what to say.”

John Giannini was hired in 2004 as the 18th head coach in the program’s history. It took a while to climb this hurdle, but it was satisfying.

“It’s a big step for your program to be in this very special event,” Giannini said. “They made us wait [and] they made us sweat a little bit, but it was obviously worth it.”

For Tyrone Garland, the whole evening was surreal. He began his career at Virginia Tech, but decided to transfer to La Salle in his hometown. Working his way into the rotation and being part of a team headed for the NCAAs made him virtually speechless.

“I’m almost at a loss for words, but I know I’m very, very excited because we’ve worked for this and we’ve earned this,” said Garland, who scored 2,198 points in the Public League, third most behind Maureece Rice and Wilt Chamberlain. “This is a proud day for me, for La Salle, for Philadelphia. It’s time to go to work and show that we do belong with the best. I can’t wait for this. It’s been a long time coming.”

Twenty-one years and change, to be exact.

“Let’s go!” said guard Ramon Galloway. “Time to get down to business. It’s our time. Let’s do it.”

What to know
» La Salle (21-9) will play No. 13 Boise State (21-10) Wednesday night at 9:10 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio. The winner will face No. 4 Kansas State in the West Region.

» Boise St. is headed to the NCAA tournament for sixth time in its history. The last time was 2008 (lost to Louisville, 79-61).

» This is the 12th career NCAA appearance for La Salle. The Explorers lost to Seton Hall, 78-76, in the first round of the 1992 NCAA tournament.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Gossip

Photos: See who Robert Pattinson was caught holding…

Robert Pattinson has a new girlfriend.

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

Movies

Antoine Fuqua knows how to kill a man…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Parenting

First look: Uniqlo's fall/winter 2014 kids collection

Get a sneak peek at Uniqlo's kids and babies fall/winter 2014 line.

Parenting

Rebecca Minkoff launches maternity line

Hot mama. Rebecca Minkoff brings her signature downtown designs to A Pea in the Pod.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…