Day 3: Kansas City, MO
- No Traveling- just basketball
An underdog against a #4 seed, the odds seemed to stack against La Salle as we approached the arena. Abby has the number memorized: 18,301 in attendance, most rooting for Kansas State vs. the 100 or so Explorer fans! When they crowd got loud, it was earth-shaking. I had never felt those decibal levels before. But as the Exploreres built a 20 point lead in the first half, you could hear a pin drop! As K-State battled back, the Explorers seemed to find an answer to quiet the crowd. One memory I’ll never forget: K-State makes a basket to try and close the lead and the crowd goes nuts. Ramon Galloway comes down the floor, pulls up and hits one of his long-range threes. All of a sudden, Lionel Simmons stands up in front of us, turns to the crowd of K-State fans, yells ‘SIT DOWN’ and motions them with his arms to sit. What happens next? THEY SIT!! Totally priceless.
Of course, the second half comeback by K-State was heroic and probably one of the most gut-wrenching things I’ve ever been a part of. As K-State continued to rally, the noise from those 18,000 fans became deafening at points. But somehow, the players battled through and we witnessed those 18,000 fans leave the stadium deflated. I then understood why the few Ole Miss fans who remained were rooting for us- they would rather face a #13 seed, rather than a #4! That meant the next game was set: #12 Ole Miss vs #13 La Salle, Sunday night right back at the Sprint Center.
Final Score: La Salle 63, Kansas State 61
Abby and I walked and found an open coffee shop to wait out the traffic and call Staci to celebrate. We decided to change our plane tickets home on Saturday and replace them. With a one-way ticket for Staci to come to Kansas City! The forecast now called for measurable snow on Saturday. We managed to get her a flight from Allentown to Kansas City early that morning. The entire family would be together for the next round game.