March 21, 2010

Close not enough for Tigers

Marcus Denmon sat quietly in his locker, his head down with his face buried in his hands. It was a singular image of the disappointment Missouri's entire team felt after a season-ending 68-59 loss to West Virginia in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.

"We were playing with guys who were hurt and everything," said Mizzou head coach Mike Anderson. "Laurence Bowers had a busted up hand. Denmon had a broken nose. Those guys gave me everything they had. We just ran out of time. And Da'Sean Butler was huge for them."

Butler set the tone for West Virginia with a pair of 3-pointers in the game's first 2 minutes as the Mountaineers sprinted to an 8-0 lead. Butler finished with a game-high 28 points. Mizzou tied the game once with 3:02 left in the 1st half but never led.

For this team, there were no moral victories in the immediate aftermath.

"It's like your house just burned down and you've got to start completely over and rebuild everything," said English.

As disappointed as the Tigers were with the loss they took some solace in the fact that Mizzou played above the expectations of most critics over the past two seasons and seems poised to continue their success into next year.

"A lot of people didn't think we could do what we did," said Bowers. "It was a big success proving people wrong."

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