Colorado State Pummels Missouri 84-72, Ends Tigers’ Disappointing Year

Thursday, March 21-

It was a short stay for Missouri in the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season. A dominating rebounding effort and an impressive individual performance by Colorado State guard Dorian Green proved to be the difference as Mizzou fell to the Rams 84-72 to put a humbling end to its season that began with so much promise.

Unlike its game against Ole Miss in the SEC tournament, in which the team blew a large lead late, Missouri found itself down big for most of this contest, as the Rams jumped out to a 15-5 lead early on and never looked back.

After being down by as many as 17 points in the second half, the Tigers were able to claw their way back out of a sizable hole on several occasions, as momentum seemed to be swinging their way when Phil Pressey connected on a huge 3-pointer with 5:10 to go in the ball game to cut the CSU lead to just seven.

However, the Rams appeared to be unfazed by Missouri’s surge as they used an 8-0 run over the next three minutes to completely erase the hope of a miracle comeback from the Tigers.

For a team that was ranked first in the nation in rebounding differential coming into this matchup, the Rams surely lived up to their strong reputation as they absolutely pummeled the Tigers on the boards, racking up 36 as opposed to Missouri’s 18 on the night.

A big factor in this substantial difference was CSU center Colton Iverson, who tallied 13 of the team’s rebounds compared to just two for Mizzou’s Alex Oriakhi in the matchup of two big men.

It also didn’t help that Mizzou simply didn’t have an answer for Green, who picked a perfect time to score a season-high 26 points, going 6-13 from the floor and 11-12 form the free-throw line.

With the defeat, Missouri ends its year with a 23-11 overall record, as Mizzou fans will now be left wondering exactly what happened along the way to derail such a talented team that appeared to be headed for big success come late March.

With the way that the Tigers looked in their final two games, it is hard to fathom that they were once a top ten team in the nation back in December.

Perhaps the most discouraging part of this early exit is that the team must now say goodbye to three talented seniors who played so well for most of the season.

Oriakhi had an efficient outing with 16 points (6-6 FG), but Laurence Bowers and Keion Bell were essentially non-factors in their final games as collegiate athletes.

These three players will now have to wait and see what their future holds with basketball, while the rest of the team must regroup and prepare for the 2013-2014 season.

With the likely return of Pressey and the other rotation players, the addition of transfer guard Jordan Clarkson and a talented recruiting class coming in, the Tigers certainly have the pieces for a bright future.

Unfortunately though for Missouri fans, they will have to dwell on another first-round exit for the remainder of this long off-season, while Colorado State will advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament to take on Louisville this Saturday.

-Nick Hehemann
Staff Writer