La Salle's Ramon Galloway relaxes and gets back to his game

Posted: March 29, 2013

LOS ANGELES - Ramon Galloway had met his match, ever so briefly.

Since transferring from South Carolina and beginning his career at La Salle last season, the senior guard has always been a picture of confidence, exuberance, and leadership.

He'd usually shrug off a bad outing with a monster performance.

Yet late in the season he experienced two consecutive downers, the second of which could have ruined La Salle's NCAA chances.

"It was extremely tough," Galloway said, talking about a two-game stretch from about two weeks ago that now seems an eternity ago.

The 6-foot-3 Galloway picked himself off the canvas after losses to St. Louis (78-54) and Butler (69-58 in the Atlantic Ten tournament), and La Salle has followed his lead. The 13th-seeded Explorers (24-9) meet No. 9 Wichita State (28-8) in Thursday's NCAA West Regional Sweet 16 matchup at the Staples Center.

Had La Salle won either of those last two games, the Explorers would have been virtually assured a berth in the NCAA tournament. After losing them both, the Explorers had to sweat out Selection Sunday, when they earned the next-to-last of the 37 at-large bids.

"I felt like I had hurt my team and myself in those games, and I looked at the NCAA tournament as a chance to redeem myself," Galloway said. "And now we are seizing the moment."

That's an understatement.

In La Salle's final regular-season game, the loss to A-10 regular-season and tournament champion St. Louis, Galloway had eight points, shooting 3 for 12 from the field, and had more turnovers than field goals.

Then, in the A-10 quarterfinal loss to Butler, things hit rock bottom. Galloway scored just four points and shot 1 for 10 from the field and 0 for 7 from beyond the arc.

"I'm supposed to be leading my team, not scoring four points," he said. "It wasn't the scoring but the fact that we lost."

So with renewed life, even if it meant La Salle was one of just eight teams to compete in a first-round play-in game, Galloway turned, well, normal.

"What he has been doing these last three games is his normal game," La Salle coach John Giannini said.

A first-team all-A-10 choice, Galloway is averaging 17.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.8 assists this season.

Galloway broke out of the slump with 21 points (8 for 13 shooting), 4 assists, and 4 rebounds in an 80-71 first round win over Boise State.

He then added 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in a 63-61 win over Kansas State. During Sunday's 76-74 win over Mississippi, he scored 24 points and was 6 for 10 from beyond the arc.

In addition, he has been dead-on with his rainbow three-point shot. One could say Galloway shoots from the hip when attempting the three, with his hands so low. In the three NCAA wins he is 12 for 23 from beyond the arc.

"Teams don't expect him to shoot it so deep because his hands are almost at his waist," La Salle point guard Tyreek Duren said. "You think you have him shut down for a moment, and the next thing you know the ball is going through the net."

In those final two pre-NCAA games, Galloway was guilty of trying to do too much.

"In those games he struggled, he tried too hard, pressed, wanted to win badly, and wanted to carry the team," Giannini said. "He tried to drive into very small spaces and force things that were not there."

Guilty as charged, Galloway said.

"I wasn't letting the game come to me," he said.

What's been more impressive is that Galloway is a beast as a defender and often draws the opponent's top offensive player, at least for long portions of the game. La Salle is apt to switch defensive assignments, but the bottom line is that Galloway, unlike other offensive standouts, doesn't use defense as a rest stop.

And on offense, the basket now looks as big as the Pacific Ocean.

"Right now I am feeling confident, and my teammates are giving me the ball in the right position, and I am taking shots and making them," Galloway said. "I give my teammates all the credit for putting me in the right position."

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Explorers enjoying Sweet 16 hoopla. D2.

Wichita State on a hot streak. D3.

In the money game, La Salle lags far behind. D4.

Contact Marc Narducci at Follow @sjnard on Twitter.

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