Party’s over for up­start Spar­tans

The Washington Times Daily - - Weather - BY NATHAN FENNO

OMAHA, NEB. | The glit­ter-en­crusted sign of green card­board rested near the court, un­touched and alone. “We be­lieve,” the sign read. Minute af­ter ugly minute dripped away at Cen­tu­rylink Cen­ter on Sun­day night. A 25-0 run by Florida. Ex­hausted, sweat-drenched Nor­folk State play­ers. Botched layups. No smiles from Kyle O’quinn. Nor­folk State’s dream was fin­ished, but the clock hadn’t caught up.

Fi­nally, mer­ci­fully the horn sounded to end car­nage: Florida 84, Nor­folk State 50.

“It wasn’t the kind of game,” Nor­folk State coach An­thony Evans said gin­gerly, “we’d have liked to play.”

The Spar­tans weren’t sup­posed to be here, not in the NCAA tour­na­ment’s third round.

Nor­folk State was picked to fin­ish fourth in the Mid-east­ern Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s pre­sea­son poll, and its best player, O’quinn, drew just one Di­vi­sion I schol­ar­ship of­fer. Eight play­ers on the ros­ter are trans­fers; the oth­ers lightly re­cruited. Its fifth-year head coach, Evans, used to work shifts at the 84 Quick Stop con­ve­nience store in New­burgh, N.Y.,

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