By the Associated Press
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Dorian Green scored 17 of his 26 points in the first half and eighth-seeded Colorado State used good shooting and great rebounding to run away from No. 9 Missouri 84-72 Thursday night in the NCAA tournament.
Green, who went scoreless with five turnovers in last year’s second-round upset to Murray State, did much better this time as the Rams shot nearly 58 percent in the first half.
Minnesota transfer and Rams big man Colton Iverson outrebounded Missouri by himself through 27 minutes and finished with 13 boards.
First-year Rams coach Larry Eustachy earned the victory with his fourth tournament team, but the road gets tougher as they advance to face top-seeded Louisville in Saturday’s third-round Midwest Regional game at Rupp Arena.
Phil Pressey’s 20 points led the Tigers (23-11). Alex Oriakhi scored 16 and Jabari Brown added 14.
Greg Smith and Jon Octeus each added 12 points while Wes Eikmeier added 11 for Colorado State (26-8), which was rarely threatened by Missouri.
The lopsided outcome was surprising considering the teams’ similarities that made this an intriguing matchup.
Besides balanced offenses with at least four starters averaging in double figures, Colorado State and Missouri also have thrived on the glass. The Rams entered the game with a rebound margin of 12.1 per game, tops in the nation, with the Tigers third at 9.6.
Iverson averaged 14.7 points per game to key Colorado State’s return to the tournament along with Eustachy, who led Southern Mississippi here last year. The 6-foot-10 senior has been helped by Eikmeier (12.7 points) and Green (12.8 points) and Smith (11.1).
Missouri meanwhile featured one of the field’s most balanced offenses, with Laurence Bowers (14.4 points) leading five starters averaging at least 11 points per game. Pressey has been one of the Tigers’ most interesting stories, a talented guard who has tended to make mistakes in key moments.
That made for an entertaining first half that Colorado State led 47-38 by setting the offensive pace before falling into an end-to-end game more to Missouri’s liking.
The Rams shot 15 of 26 (58 percent) in the first half and seemed primed to run away from the Tigers. Green was 3 for 3 from beyond the arc.
Missouri was 15 of 30 in the first 20 minutes with four 3-pointers.
Missouri closed to 49-45 early in the second half, but the Rams responded with a 17-4 surge for their biggest lead at 66-49 lead.