9 over 8 and ACC over SEC: Florida State beats Mizzou

Mizzou Ready for Return to NCAA Tournament

After saying it had spent its two-week-long layover refining its motion offense, Missouri turned the ball over 10 times in the first half, and the Eagles scored 12 points off those giveaways.

Now they'll face the No. 1 Xavier Musketeers in the second round Sunday.

In the week prior to Mizzou's NCAA tournament game, Mizzou guard Sophie Cunningham was adamant that the Tigers had to get to the Sweet 16, or it was a bust.

This was the first trip to the tournament for every player on the roster for Missouri (20-13).

More important, the Seminoles' win-by-committee approach shined bright against the Tigers.

"The first half, we played tremendously unselfish", Hamilton said. We didn't handle it very well. Not a bad first game for someone who hadn't played meaningful basketball since November 10th.

Late in the second after Dow hit a 3-pointer on the other end then pounded with Cunningham inside and other FGCU defenders swarmed, Cunningham still was able to find a way to nearly underhand the ball up and into the hoop. P.J. Savoy chipped in with 12 points and Phil Cofer added 11 in the win.

"We went through a few possessions where they scored like, bang, bang, bang, and it was right back to 13", Jontay Porter said. Jordan Frericks had two early blocked shots to help the Tigers establish their defense in the paint and on the perimeter.

The Tigers pulled to 52-44 on a pair of free throws by Porter as Missouri opened the second half by outscoring Florida State 24-8.

The previous three seasons of Mizzou basketball has been buried and a foundation of something better built on top. He led the Tigers Friday with 19 points and was 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.

But FSU remained poised to reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. Redshirt freshman forward Mfiondu Kabengele was terrific on both ends and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. I think in order for him to be effective, he had to have teammates that really, really follow his lead. "I feel like being able to do that helped". Porter made 4-of-9 shots and scored eight points. "It wasn't enough", senior guard Kassius Robertson said.

Mizzou won its SEC Tournament opener and earned a third straight NCAA berth, the first time the program has done so since 1984-86, but missed out on earning at least one victory in three straight tournaments for the first time in school history. The Seminoles fell one win shy of tying the second record for victories with the Xavier loss.

Things went from bad to worse in the first half for the Tigers. But they came in as the ACC's third-highest scoring team, averaging 81.8 points a game, and they showed off their offense by smothering Missouri in points. "I'll probably sit down with my parents and see what my options are".

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