Last updated: February 16. 2013 12:14AM - 134 Views

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OMAHA, Neb. — Welcome to the NCAA tournament, Norfolk State.


Might as well stick around a while.


Kyle O'Quinn had 26 points and 14 rebounds, making several key plays in the closing minutes, and the gritty No. 15 seed Spartans held on through a tense final minute to topple second-seeded Missouri 86-84 on Friday in the West Regional.


Pendarvis Williams and Chris McEachin each added 20 points for the MEAC champion Spartans (26-9), who made their first trip to the NCAA tournament a memorable one. They became the fifth No. 15 seed to beat a No. 2 and the first since fellow conference member Hampton in 2001.


When it was over, O'Quinn led Norfolk State back to the locker room shouting, "We messed up some brackets! We messed up some brackets!"


As he turned the corner, he looked over to a pack of reporters and said, "We even messed up my bracket."


O'Quinn had a chance to take some of the drama out of the finish when he went to the free throw line with 3.8 seconds to go, but the 70-percent foul shooter missed both tries.


Missouri coach Frank Haith called a timeout with 2.9 seconds left to set up a final play, and the ball wound up in the hands of Phil Pressey. He took a couple of hard dribbles and let loose a 3-pointer from the wing that clanked off the back iron as the buzzer sounded.


O'Quinn leaped for joy. Pressey fell to the court in disbelief.


And the roar that rose inside CenturyLink Arena from anybody wearing anything other than black and gold may have drowned out the sound of brackets getting torn up all over America.


"We just shocked everybody," Brandon Wheeless said.


Michael Dixon led Missouri (30-5) with 22 points, and Pressey and fellow guard Marcus Denmon finished with 20 points each. Pressey also contributed eight assists.


"I'm very disappointed, as everyone in that locker room was," Haith said. "I hurt for those seniors because they put so much into this. They had high expectations as we came into this season, but let's understand one thing — they had a hell of a year."


The Tigers rolled into the tournament on the strength of a dominant run to the Big 12 tournament title, rarely getting tested in three games in Kansas City. That was enough to make Missouri a trendy Final Four pick, something the school had never before accomplished.


Norfolk State made sure it wouldn't happen this year, either.


The plucky Spartans shot 54.2 percent from the field — 62.5 percent in the second half — and managed to knock down 10 of 19 3-point shots. They also turned the ball over just 11 times against the Tigers' quick-handed guards, who had caused fits for most teams this season.


"We matched up with Marquette earlier in the year. We were accustomed to that style of play, the running style of play, getting shots up real quick," Wheeless said.


Missouri knew right away that Norfolk State wasn't going away easily.


The Spartans opened the game on 15-7 surge, turning most of the folks dressed in Florida blue and Virginia orange into surrogate fans. And when Missouri jumped ahead on the strength of three consecutive 3-pointers, Norfolk State didn't seem to be rattled.


Fifth-year coach Anthony Evans simply called a timeout to regroup, and McEachin curled in a 3-pointer when play resumed to push the Spartans back ahead.


Things were going so well for Norfolk State in the first half that O'Quinn, an 18-percent shooter from beyond the arc, swished one from the top of the key.


Michigan State 89, LIU Brooklyn 67

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Draymond Green scored 24 points in a triple-double, Derrick Nix added 18 points and top-seeded Michigan State fought off the upset bug that took down two No. 2 seeds in the NCAA tournament, advancing in the West Regional with an 89-67 win over LIU Brooklyn on Friday night.


The Spartans (28-7) finally put away the pesky No. 16 Blackbirds (25-9) with a 14-4 run midway through the second half.



Florida 71, Virginia 45

OMAHA, Neb. — Bradley Beal had 14 points and 11 rebounds, reserve Casey Prather scored a career-high 14 and Florida pulled away in the second half for a victory over Virginia.


The Gators (24-10) finished the first half on a 17-4 run to shake off a slow start and get out to a 30-22 lead. They shot 70 percent in the second half, pushing their lead to more than 20 points.


Mike Scott had 15 points for Virginia (22-10).


Florida, averaging a nation-leading 9.9 3-pointers a game, was 4 of 23 from long range but made 24 of 30 from inside the arc.


Saint Louis 61, Memphis 54

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kwamain Mitchell scored 22 points, including three big 3-pointers, and Saint Louis rode its gritty defense past Memphis.


Mitchell closed the first half by banking in a 3, then nailed two others to help the ninth-seeded Billikens (26-7) overturn an eight-point second-half deficit. They'll move on to play the winner of LIU Brooklyn and top-seeded Michigan State on Sunday.

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