• Key play: Norfolk State was poised to enter halftime up 38-36 lead, but Missouri junior guard Michael Dixon made a long jumper that tied the score.
• Key stat: Senior center Kyle OQuinn established himself early against Missouris front line, scoring 14 points on a variety of post moves. Thanks to all the attention the Tigers were forced to give him in the low post, the Spartans perimeter shooters got open.
• Key play: With Norfolk State leading by two with 8 seconds left, Rodney McCauley missed a free throw that could have extended the Spartans lead to three. But Missouri failed to block out and after tangling up for the rebound, a jump ball was called and the possession arrow pointed to Norfolk State. This took 5 precious seconds off the clock.
• Key stat: Missouri was outrebounded 37-25, including 14-7 on the offensive boards.
Senior guard Kim English, who was battling a quad injury, struggled from the field, scoring only two points on one for seven shooting. He was zero for five from three-point range.
I hurt for Kimmie, said Missouri coach Frank Haith. The young man is a warrior. He didnt have it at all today. He just wasnt himself.
• Missouri senior guard Marcus Denmon was battling the effects of a sprained ankle he suffered last week, but still managed to score 20 points on five for 12 shooting.
Denmon, a Hogan Prep graduate, said the loss wasnt a result of the Tigers taking the Spartans lightly.
We were overly prepared, Denmon said. The coaches did a great job getting us ready, but they cant go out and get loose balls on the floor, cant make free throws or get rebounds thats for the players to do and we came up short.
• The attendance at the CenturyLink Center was 16,843.
• No. 15 seeds are now 6-106 all-time against No. 2 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
| Terez A. Paylor, email@example.com