Both the Temple Owls and La Salle Explorers were pushed to the brink this afternoon, but both teams came away with wins to move the Atlantic 10 to 6-0 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Both teams led big for most of their respective games, but each contest came down to the wire. All five of the A-10 teams have now advanced to the round of 32, so fans of the conference have an exciting weekend on tap.
Temple was the first to lock in their win, sneaking by the North Carolina State Wolfpack for a 76-72 victory. The Owls had a 38-22 halftime lead, but Mark Gottfried’s squad battled back and cut their deficit to just two with 2 seconds remaining. Temple got it done however, as Khalif Wyatt buried a pair of free throws for the final points of the game to seal the Temple win. Wyatt, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, led all scorers with 31 points. Unfortunately, he injured his thumb in the game and will have to batted through it when the Owls take on top seeded Indiana on Sunday.
La Salle had a huge halftime lead of their own (44-26), but their game against the Kansas State Wildcats also came down to the final minutes. Despite shooting 3-18 from the field in the second half, the Explorers held on to top KSU 63-61. Jerrell Wright led all scorers with 21 points on 6-6 shooting for La Salle, as they advance to take on the 12-seeded Ole Miss Rebels on Sunday.
As for Atlantic 10 teams in action tomorrow, #5 VCU will take on #4 Michigan at 12:15 p.m. EST on CBS, #4 St. Louis faces #12 Oregon at 7:10 p.m. EST on TBS, and #6 Butler battles #3 Marquette at 7:45 p.m. on CBS. Let’s see if Rhody’s conference can keep it rolling.