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For 3 La Salle Seniors, Success Of Explorers Has Been Long Time Coming

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Three La Salle seniors say they have been passionate fans during the good times and the bad. Three La Salle seniors say they have been passionate fans during the good times and the bad.
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PHILADELPHIA -

The La Salle Explorers' bandwagon has gotten awfully crowded these days, what with a victory in the NCAA tournament play-in game, followed by a pair of upsets that have landed the Explorers in basketball's Sweet 16.

But what about the fans who were there back when the team's basketball "bandwagon" was little more than a sub-compact?

"It's been four years of lots of ups and downs," said senior Dennis Grove to FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "Mostly downs."

Grove met fellow seniors Jim Chrismer and Sean Hurley when they were freshmen marketing majors.

All were big hoops fans, even though La Salle was, at the time, a Big 5 bottom-feeder.

Payback's nice, huh?

"Yeah. Wonderful. It's been a long time coming," they answer as a group.

The trio resurrected the "Explorer Entourage" fan section, posted basketball team videos on their Facebook pages and created a Twitter page in hopes of getting other fans to share their excitement.

"We would have real time updates for people who couldn't go to the game," says Hurley. "So we'd be telling them whenever there's a close shot or final seconds- here's the score- who has the ball. Things like that, to keep people involved and interested in what's going on."

They drove out to Dayton, Ohio to watch the Explorers win their play-in game against Boise State.

Then came the West Regional upset of Kansas State and the "Floater Heard 'Round the World" that beat Mississippi and propelled the Explorers to the Sweet 16.

But honestly, did they really think this team could make it this far?

"To be honest, I did," says Chrismer. "I've been telling people for a while, if we're on our game, we can compete with anyone in the country."

With the Explorers now all the buzz on campus, you might wonder whether longtime fans resent the bandwagon-jumpers.

Not at all, say these soon-to-be graduates.

"When we leave," says Grove, "we have to pass the torch to somebody else, so the more the merrier!"

The stars have aligned nicely for La Salle. Their upset of K-State, along with other surprise scores, gives them a Sweet 16 match-up against a 9-seed instead of a 1-seed.

Of course, in sports, you often make your own luck. And with fans like these, the Explorers might just "discover" a trip to the Elite 8.

Here's hoping…

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