KANSAS CITY, Mo. — By the time the trio of La Salle players hit the dais at the Sprint Center early Thursday evening, the buzz from the last 24 hours of their lives had yet to wear off.
Yes, they were still on top of the world after beating Boise State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio.
No, they were not tired.
“At this point in time you don’t have the time to be tired or sore,” Ramon Galloway said. “You can’t have any negative energy.”
No, they hadn’t had much sleep, if any.
“We had to turn around right back around and get on a plane,” Tyrone Garland said. “I didn’t really get that much sleep, but it’s great to be here.”
And no, they were not intimidated by Kansas State, the West Region’s fourth seed and their second-round opponent on Friday.
“I think we started off proving people wrong, proving to people how good we really are,” Tyreek Duren said. “I think we have to take care of Kansas State next and show people what we can really do.”
La Salle (22-9) can only hope that their bodies can quickly catch up with their minds after a quick turnaround that included a red-eye flight out of Dayton that put the Explorers in Kansas City at 4:30 Thursday morning.
Friday’s game against the Wildcats is scheduled to begin around 2:10 p.m.
La Salle coach John Giannini promised the “most boring open practice session in NCAA history” on Thursday and delivered. The Explorers did their walk-through at the team hotel before getting to the Sprint Center and had what amounted to an organized shootaround instead of the three-point and dunk exhibitions some of the practices turn into.
“If we go out and run around and dunk the ball for 40 minutes after getting in at 4:30 in the morning and having a killer game, yeah, we’ll be tired,” Giannini said. “But we won’t, because we’ll save our energy out there.”
La Salle hasn’t won two games in the NCAA Tournament since advancing to the NCAA championship game in 1955, the year after the Explorers won their only NCAA Tournament, in 1954 at KC’s Municipal Auditorium.
“We feel blessed. We feel like we’re on top of the world,” Giannini said. “We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves at all. We just have to be careful with our energy levels being that no one else had to play last night. And these teams also didn’t have to travel, we did.
“We played well against Boise, but you put that behind you and hopefully play very well against Kansas State. You have to handle both adversity and success to get here. I think our guys have proven they can do that.”