The end

Alex Oriakhi dunks during the first half of Missouri's 84-72 loss to Colorado State in the NCAA Tournament.

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- On Wednesday, Missouri senior Laurence Bowers said the Tigers were capable of making a "special run" in the NCAA Tournament.

Thursday night, the run ended. This was not very special.

Unless one and done is special.

Dorian Green scored 26 points as the No. 8 seed Colorado State Rams delivered an 84-72 knockout-blow to the Tigers' season during their second-round game of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night at Rupp Arena.

Missouri (23-11) --- a No. 9 seed making its school-record fifth straight appearance in the Big Dance --- lost its NCAA opener for the third straight year.

But then, March Sadness is nothing new for the Tigers. They remain the team with the most wins in NCAA Tournament history (22) without advancing to a Final Four.

That's not very special, either.

"Obviously, give Colorado State a lot of credit, they played their tails off," Tigers coach Frank Haith said. "They were the more aggressive team, they really went after us. They really dominated us on the boards and in the 50-50 balls."

The Rams outrebounded the Tigers by a staggering 42-19 margin. That is what you'd call domination and, more to the point, a lack of fight by the Tigers.

"Tonight," Phil Pressey said, "we just got beat in every aspect of the game."

The Rams (26-8) used a 15-3 run --- hitting their first five shots from the field and first two free throws --- to build an early 15-5 lead. All seven of these shots were basically uncontested, not just the free throws.

Pressey missed his first five attempts and most of these shots barely hit the gym, let alone the rim. He did make his final three attempts of the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help keep Missouri the conversation at 47-38 at the break. Pressey finished with a team-high 20 points and seven assists.

The Tigers have made a habit of losing games late in the second half this season. Not on this night.

They lost it early in the second half.

After Missouri scored the first five points of the second half to draw within 47-43, Colorado State answered with a 17-3 explosion to build a 64-47 bulge with 12 minutes left.

That effectively ended this game and this season.

"We didn't end it the way we wanted to," MU senior Alex Oriakhi said. "I said all along, if we don't figure out how to finish games, we're going to go home packing. That's what happened."

This is the first win in the NCAA Tournament in 24 years for the Rams, who will have the pleasure of facing Louisville on Saturday.

"This was obviously an historic win for our program," Rams coach Larry Eustachy.

Last year's season-ending loss to Norfolk State was stunning for the Tigers and their fans. This, result, however, was hardly a surprise.

This team never had any definition. It was a season mostly marked by poor play and poor coaching, when Missouri had to face competent competition.

So perhaps this losss was a blessing. The Tigers, as you know, were really lousy on the road this season --- 2-8, including some losses to some really bad teams.

Saturday, while it's deemed a neutral-site game, would have been a road game for the Tigers, in all reality. And against a very good team, Louisville, the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region and the tournament's overall No. 1 seed.

Of the 23,000 fans on hand for Louisville's drubbing of North Carolina A&T in the first game Thursday evening, about 22,995 were Cardinal fans.

Louisville is about an hour from Lexington, an easy drive down I-64. That would have been ugly, as the Blue Bloods of Kentucky --- Lexington is home of the UK Wildcats --- open their doors to the Red Tidal Wave of the Cardinals and their fans.

That would not have been special.

Then again, neither was this.