Green, Rams down Tigers
Lexington, KY – Dorian Green scored 26 points and eighth-seeded Colorado State is moving on to third round play of the NCAA Tournament after ousting ninth-seeded Missouri, 84-72, on Thursday.
Green canned three 3-pointers and finished 11-of-12 from the free throw line for Colorado State (26-8), which received 12 points apiece from Greg Smith and Jon Octeus and will next face top-seeded Louisville on Saturday.
"We really set out to do this when we were freshmen," Smith said of making a run in the NCAA Tournament. "Now that we're starting to do it, it's great to see all of our hard work paying off."
Colton Iverson tallied a game-best 13 rebounds in the victory.
For the third straight season, Missouri (23-11) has not gotten past its first postseason game. Phil Pressey scored a team-high 20 points on 7-for-19 shooting and Alex Oriakhi came through with 16 points.
"They were way more aggressive in searching out loose balls," Missouri coach Frank Haith said of Colorado State. "I wish we would have been more passionate about rebounding because that's what it is...it's about desire."
Jabari Brown had 14 points and Earnest Ross scored 11 in defeat.
Colorado State was in control most of the contest, but it wasn't until the early moments of the second half that it began to pull away.
Missouri had battled back from a 13-point deficit to pull within 49-45 three minutes into the second half, but Colorado State's ensuing 15-2 run doomed the Tigers.
Inside scores from Pierce Hornung and Smith moved the Rams' advantage to double-digits before Daniel Bejarano's 3-pointer created a 64-47 margin with just over 12 minutes to play.
The Tigers struggled for baskets over the next 6 1/2 minutes, but got a lift after Wes Eikmeier fouled Brown from 3-point range with 5:42 to play.
He hit all three free throws, and after Eikmeier turned the ball over on the ensuing Rams possession, Pressey drilled a 3-pointer to cut the difference to 72-65, but they never came any closer over the final five minutes.
Hornung sank a pair from the line before a penetrating Green found him for an uncontested layup and a 76-65 lead. Ross was called for a travel on Missouri's next possession and Octeus's driving score with 2:51 left all but sealed the victory.
Green had Colorado State's fifth 3-pointer of the contest just over seven minutes through to create a 20-9 edge for the Rams.
Missouri had trouble all half reducing the double-digit margin, finally getting within six on a 3-pointer from Pressey before Eikmeier's three-point play with 40 seconds left staked Colorado State to a 47-38 edge at halftime.
Colorado State improved to 4-10 record all-time in the NCAA Tournament ... Eikmeier scored 11 for the Rams ... Colorado State shot 49 percent (25-for-51) for the game ... Missouri was 7-for-23 from 3-point range.