- A fight and not a show. Missouri might have come into the game as the favorite today, but Norfolk State was not going to stand by lightly, putting up a fight and taking it to the Tigers early. Missouri players looked frustrated throughout the game in trying to stop the Spartans, but the shots kept going in. Kim English was held to only two points on 1-7 shooting and 0-5 from three, 12 off of his season average. At one point in the game, you could see Missouri guard Michael Dixon showing his frustration at the free throw line telling his team to, “c’mon guys.”
- Three point shooting vital. The Spartans and Tigers both had better shooting from the three-point line than the previous game with Florida and Virginia. The two teams combined to shoot 23-of-58 from behind the arc. Marcus Denmon and Dixon from Missouri were the big keys in the Tigers going 8-16. But it was Pendarvis Williams and Chris McEachin that combined for 8-of-12 for Norfolk State that kept them in the game throughout.
- Three headed monster. Norfolk State had balanced scoring with four players in double figures. MEAC offensive and defensive Player of the Year Kyle O’Quinn led the way with 26 points and 14 rebounds while Williams and McEachin each had 20 points. Each player stepped up at different times during the game. The Spartans had 16 second chance points. They will need this heading into their next round against Florida.
Star of the Game. Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State. O’Quinn knew things could be in the cards for the Spartans early in the first half when he hit a three-pointer from the top of the key. After that play he smiled, running down the court and gave quite a fist pump to let the crowd know he was having fun.
Quotable–“I never thought it would be an upset alert until that buzzer went off.” Norfolk State Center, Kyle O’Quinn.
Wildcard. If you know anything about Omaha, they embrace big events that come to the city. The NCAA Tournament is one of those big events. As the game went on, Omaha residents that bought tickets to this event embraced Norfolk State and started adding to the overall environment. Then if you add in the Kansas fans who had all-session tickets getting ready for the Jayhawks to take the court later in the evening, it created for an electric afternoon.
Wildcard x2. With Norfolk State getting the win, the #15 seeds are now 5-105 in NCAA Tournament history. Out of those five wins, three of those came from the MEAC conference.
What’s Next? Norfolk State will now face Florida for the chance to go to the Sweet Sixteen in Phoenix on Sunday. Can the Spartans bring the magic back to the CenturyLink for one more game?