Norfolk State Beats Missouri for First NCAA Tournament Win in School History
As the final desperation heave fell well short for Missouri, adulation went up from a biased crowd chanting for Norfolk State. The Spartans, champions of MEAC and the lone-remaining Division I team from an HBCU conference, celebrated the 86-84 win in the fashion now customary for upsets orchestrated by MEAC teams.
Players dancing at half-court, a marching band in blaring jubilation, and the fray accompanied by HBCU fans around the world attempting to break the Internet with tweets, emails and Facebook updates.
The Spartans were paced by senior forward Kyle O’Quinn, who came up with timely scoring and stops en route to a 26-point, 14-rebound MVP performance for the game. Guards Chris McEachin and Pendarvis Williams added 20 points each, and combined for 8-12 three-point shooting and six rebounds.
Norfolk State never appeared outmanned or outsmarted in a wire-to-wire contest. Both teams shot over 50 percent for the game, but NSU held advantages in rebounding (35-23) blocks (3-1) and three-point shooting (52 percent to 44 for the Mizzou Tigers).
Norfolk State, which won 26 games and the MEAC regular season title to accompany its conference tournament championship now advances to face Florida on Sunday. The Spartans join the Coppin State Eagles and Hampton Pirates as MEAC basketball teams to advance in the NCAA as a 15th seed. The Eagles defeated South Carolina in 1997 and Hampton defeated Iowa State in 2001.