SPOKANE, Wash. -- This Pacific Northwest pod has turned into a “snub hub.”
North Dakota State (26-6) advances to Saturday’s West regional game against the winner of San Diego State and New Mexico State.
Earlier in the day, on the same court, No. 12 Harvard defeated No. 5 Cincinnati in a second-round East regional game.
North Dakota State earned its first NCAA tournament win in its second appearance. The Bison overcame an off-shooting night from star guard Taylor Braun, who fouled out with 1:17 left in overtime after hitting only three of his 11 shots.
Just the Bison’s luck, though. Braun’s replacement, freshman Carlin Dupree, hit the go-ahead free throws with 1:14 left and then added another key basket with 40 seconds left to emerge an unlikely hero.
Dupree had played only 189 minutes all season, but his four points in two minutes Thursday will go down in Bison lore.
A reporter asked Dupree what it was like to play two of the greatest minutes in college basketball history.
“In OUR history,” Coach Saul Phillips interrupted. “Don’t overstate things.”
Lawrence Alexander led North Dakota State with 28 points, including a huge three that tied the game at 66-all with 11 seconds left in regulation.
After the game Braun, who averages 18 points but scored only 11, thanked Alexander for picking him up on an off-night. Braun, the Summit League player of the year, was happy to be part of the fun.
“Honestly, I don’t know what all the hype is about, the NCAA tournament,” he deadpanned.
He paused a few seconds and added, “I’m kidding.”
Oklahoma (23-10) ended what had been a good season by getting bounced out early in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. Cameron Clark led the Sooners with 25 points.