Ramon Galloway scored a career-high 31 points, and La Salle accomplished a feat it hadn't achieved in 61 years with Saturday's 69-61 victory over 19th-ranked VCU at Verizon Wireless Arena at the Siegel Center.
Fresh off a dramatic 54-53 last-second win over No. 9 Butler on Wednesday, the Explorers knocked off a ranked foe in back-to-back games for the first time since the 1952 NIT Tournament, overcoming an eight-point deficit with under 15 minutes left behind Galloway's big performance and a strong defensive effort.
La Salle (14-5, 4-2 A-10) held the Rams to just 38.3 percent shooting for the game and a 4-of-16 success rate from 3-point range, handing VCU (16-5, 4-2) its second consecutive setback following a string of 13 straight wins.
"I'm really proud of our team," La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini said. "VCU is terrific and hard to play against."
Galloway netted 20 of his points after halftime to lead the comeback, with Tyreek Duren contributing 16 points and Steve Zack pulling down 11 rebounds to help the Explorers prevail.
Juvonte Reddic had 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds for the reeling Rams, who fell in overtime at crosstown-rival Richmond on Thursday. Treveon Graham finished with 13 points and 12 boards in defeat.
The Explorers' tight defense stifled VCU all throughout the first half, with the Rams going just 30.3 percent from the field in falling behind by a 34-25 count at intermission. VCU came out blazing after the break, however, putting forth a 17-0 run to begin the period that completely turned the momentum around.
The Rams forced four turnovers and knocked down seven of their first eight shots during the tear, which ended with Reddic's jumper that staked VCU to a 42-34 lead with 14:35 remaining.
La Salle regrouped, however, and went on a 22-7 spree over a stretch of nearly nine minutes to forge ahead. Galloway accounted for 12 points during the pivotal surge, including a pair of triples that helped give the Explorers a 56-49 advantage with under six minutes to go.
VCU answered with six straight points, with Graham's jumper pulling the Rams within one at 56-55 with 2:49 left to play. Galloway then buried a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession, and following a Reddic turnover, Duren drove the lane and scored to make it a five-point game with under two minutes remaining.
The Explorers held on by making all eight of their foul shots in the final minute, with the Rams never getting closer than four points down the rest of the way.
A 12-2 Rams' run in which La Salle missed 8-of-9 shots and Reddic put up eight points gave the hosts a 23-19 edge with just under eight minutes left in the first half, but the Explorers countered with a 14-0 burst to go ahead by double digits.
Galloway had an impact there as well, draining consecutive 3-pointers to conclude the flurry, the last of which sent La Salle ahead by a 33-23 score heading into the last four minutes of the session.
La Salle topped No. 4 Duquesne, No. 11 Dayton and No. 10 St. John's in the Third Round, Quarterfinals and Semifinals of the 1952 NIT for its last sequence of wins over ranked opponents ... Galloway's previous career best was 28 points, set against George Washington on Jan. 25, 2011 ... VCU had won all three of the previous meetings between the schools, the last coming during the 2004-05 season ... The Explorers are now 10-0 when holding the opposition under 70 points this season ... La Salle was facing ranked teams in back-to- back games for the first time since losing to No. 4 Villanova and No. 1 Massachusetts in February of 1996.