Missouri falls to Colorado State in opener of NCAA tourney

Colorado State’s Pierce Hornung (right) tries to put up a shot as Missouri’s Alex Oriakhi (42) defends during the first half of Thursday’s night’s second-round game of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky.

Colorado State’s Pierce Hornung (right) tries to put up a shot as Missouri’s Alex Oriakhi (42) defends during the first half of Thursday’s night’s second-round game of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — 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).

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.

Beside 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).

An entertaining first half ended with Colorado State leading 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.

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