Party’s over for upstart Spartans
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.,