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By Tom Hurley | @TomHurleyKernel
Colorado State defeated Missouri in the final of four NCAA Tournament second-round games at Rupp Arena on Thursday.
Rams head coach Larry Eustachy walked towards the locker room arms aloft after his side out-rebounded Missouri 42-19, including 30-16 on the defensive glass, as they took the 84-72 win.
“I thought it was a historical win for our program,” Eustachy said. ” I told my wife we’re not going to go home tomorrow morning, we’re going to win this game. I believe in these guys. More importantly, they believe in themselves.”
Little did they know it at the time, the Tigers only lead of the night came when senior forward Laurence Brown scored the first points of the game.
Mizzou head coach Frank Haith had no complaints about Colorado State’s win.
“They really went after us and I thought they were rebounding the ball, which that’s what they do, they really dominated part of the game and dominated the 50/50 balls, and they were the more aggressors,” Haith said. “In this time of the year in tournament play, that’s usually the team that wins the game.
Missouri junior guard Phil Pressey was tasked with guarding Colorado State senior guard Dorian Green for large spells of the first half.
Green was able to get the better of his defender, helping himself to 17 first-half points and guiding the Rams to a 47-38 lead at the interval.
“I wanted to be aggressive tonight,” Green said.
Mizzou were able to get within four points early in the second half before the Rams began to pull away once more with a 15-3 run.
A three pointer from Pressey got the Tigers within reaching distance with 5:08 to play as they trailed, 72-65.
Senior forward Laurence Brown scored the first points of the game. It would be Missouri’s only lead of the night.
The Rams held a 10 point advantage under five minutes in and led by as many as 14 in the opening half.
Seventeen points in the first half from senior guard Dorian Green helped the Rams hold a 47-38 advantage at the interval.
Hit a lay-up then nailed two three throws to move Colorado State 15-points clear and put the game to bed.
White and green clad Rams fans serenaded Rupp Arena in the final minutes safe in the knowledge their team would be back on the same floor Saturday where No. 1 overall seed Louisville await.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere,” Green said. “We got to, you know, enjoy it and … come out and play 40 minutes and play together and be aggressive from the tip.”
Saturday’s contest will tip at 5:15 p.m.
Green finished with 26 points to lead all scorers. Pressey had 20 to top score for Missouri.