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La Salle guard Tyrone Garland passes the ball during practice for tonight’s NCAA tournament game against Boise State.
La Salle's Tyrone Garland (21) goes up past Butler's Andrew Smith during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament, Friday, March 15, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
La Salle's Tyrone Garland shoots next to Virginia Commonwealth's Treveon Graham during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Clement Britt)
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
In search of more playing time, Tyrone Garland left Virginia Tech.
Now he's the third-leading scorer on a team that made the NCAA tournament.
The Philadelphia native is averaging 12.7 points for his hometown school, La Salle, which will face fellow No. 13 seed Boise State at 9:10 tonight in a play-in game in Dayton, Ohio (truTV).
"It was the right situation, to come back home," he said. "And good things happened."
La Salle (21-9), which beat Butler, VCU and Villanova this season, is in the field for the first time since 1992.
Garland left Tech for La Salle in December 2011. After sitting out two semesters under the NCAA's transfer rule, he became eligible to play for the Atlantic 10 school last December.
The junior off-guard has scored in double figures in 16 games for coach John Giannini's squad. He had 26 points against Iona and 20 against both Miami and Duquesne. He had 15 against St. Louis and 17 against Butler.
"He just lets us play our game," Garland said of Giannini. "He don't bother us on offense much. All he focuses on is defense. When you've got a coach like that, it's easy to play."
Garland has played in 23 games for La Salle, starting only one. But he ranks fifth on the team in minutes (23.8 mpg).
"I just kind of come in off the bench as a spark," he said. "I kind of look at it like [NBA players] Jamal Crawford or J.R. Smith."
Garland played both guard positions for former Tech coach Seth Greenberg. He averaged 2.7 points and 6.6 minutes with 13 assists and 18 turnovers as a Tech freshman. He averaged 4.6 points and 10.8 minutes with 10 assists and 10 turnovers in eight games for Tech last season. He once had 18 points in a Tech win over Monmouth but played a total of four minutes in his final four games with the Hokies.
"I really didn't want to leave Virginia Tech, but things didn't work out, so I just had to move on," said Garland, who has 46 assists and 35 turnovers this season. "I was the same type of player there; I just [didn't] have the opportunity. Or I probably didn't fit the system he wanted. Or it just wasn't my time and I wasn't being patient."
Cave Spring grad has Shockers in NCAAs again
For the second straight year, Cave Spring graduate Gregg Marshall has steered Wichita State into the NCAA tournament.
The ninth-seeded Shockers (26-8) will face eighth-seeded Pittsburgh at 1:40 p.m. Thursday in Salt Lake City (TBS).
"We play very similar styles, so it's going to be an in-your-face, defensive battle," Marshall said. "They're known as one of the toughest teams, and that's kind of what we pride ourselves on."
Marshall is in his sixth season at Wichita, which lost to VCU in the round of 64 last year. The Shockers won the NIT two years ago.
This was the second straight season that Marshall was named the Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year.
"We thought, with losing five seniors [after] last year and then having three starters go down, two of whom missed most of the season, that this was going to be a tough year," he said. "Our guys have just found a way to win. They're one of my favorite groups to ever coach because of their toughness.
"We lost our five leading scorers [from last year]. We had nine new faces out of the 15 guys on our roster. ... It was bumpy at times, but just winning was very gratifying as a coach, to watch these kids persevere."
Marshall steered Winthrop to seven NCAA bids in his nine seasons at that school.
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