Men's basketball tournament: Bison stun Oklahoma
SPOKANE, Wash. — Trending on Twitter. Another No. 12 seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament with upset hopes. North Dakota State pulled it off Thursday night.
Freshman Carlin Dupree, in the game only because Bison star Taylor Braun fouled out, hit two free throws and a key basket in overtime and the Bison won an NCAA Round of 64 tournament game for the Summit League for the first time since 1998.
The 80-75 win over No. 5 seed Oklahoma in the West Region second round was stunning in its theatre.
Earlier in the day in this building, No. 12 seed Harvard knocked off No. 5 Cincinnati in an East Region game that had the local Spokane crowd generally rooting for the Crimson.
With Braun having fouled out in overtime, Dupree hit two free throws with 1:14 left and NDSU led 74-72. His shot in traffic with 40 seconds left made it a four-point advantage. After another OU miss, Lawrence Alexander hit two free throws for a 78-72 advantage with 32 seconds remaining.
This was tight the entire way in regulation. The Bison led 61-57 when Cameron Clark went to work for Oklahoma. His 3-pointer with 2:03 remaining started eight straight OU points.
Braun stopped it with two free throws with 32 seconds left to bring NDSU within 65-63. Isaiah Cousins made 1 of 2 free throws for OU, giving NDSU a chance.
It cashed in. Lawrence Alexander’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds left ignited the arena crowd and tied it.
OU had three shots to win it with Buddy Hield having the best look from the corner, but NDSU survived the flurry.
Earlier in the game, it was NDSU with the big run of points.
It may have been a neutral court setting, but NDSU outscored OU 11-0 to close the first half, which had the several hundred Bison fans going crazy. Alexander had a driving layup and 3-point to key the surge, which ended with a Marshall Bjorkland basket and a Braun 15 footer.
It was 37-29 heading to intermission.
The run erased a 29-26 Oklahoma advantage that was gained largely on six 3-point field goals. When the Bison left a Sooner shooter alone beyond the arc, they didn’t miss many. At one point, NDSU took time out to perhaps address that problem.
It worked — OU did not score in the last 3:31 of the half. NDSU, meanwhile, was 15 of 24 for 62 percent — yet more evidence why it led Division I in field goal percentage.
The Sooners won the first five minutes of the second half, however, to make it a one-possession game. Still, Alexander remained spot on at the point and his driving layup in traffic made it 50-45 with just over 12 minutes remaining.
A quick 5-0 run, however, tied it just a minute later. But the Sooners went cold not scoring again until Jordan Woodard’s free throws with 6:22 left. The Bison still led 56-52.
It was a defensive struggle from there with each possession having mounting pressure. There were very few transition layups on this night — a tempo that fit NDSU better.