LEXINGTON, Ky. – Dorian Green led all scorers with 26 points, and Colton Iverson led a massive rebounding margin for Colorado State as the eighth-seeded Rams posted an 84-72 win over No. 9 Missouri in NCAA Tournament Second Round action.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Colton 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.