Spokane, Wash. • The guys in green raced off the court and into the locker room where they danced and sang, compared whose shot was most likely to end up featured on “One Shining Moment,” and checked Twitter to see who was giving them a shoutout.
North Dakota State pulled off yet another 12 seed stunner and enjoyed every moment of it.
“I just want to keep coaching this team,” NDSU coach Saul Phillips said. “I don’t want to have to say goodbye to this locker room.”
Lawrence Alexander’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds left forced overtime and Carlin Dupree came off the bench to score four unlikely points in the final 75 seconds of the extra session, and the Bison knocked off No. 5 seed Oklahoma 80-75 Thursday night.
NDSU (26-6) picked up its first NCAA tournament win by rallying in the final minute and outlasting the Sooners in overtime. Alexander finished with a career-high 28 points, but it’ll be his falling-down, fist-pumping celebration after the tying 3-pointer that will be replayed in Fargo for years.
But that was just the first act. Dupree came on in the closing seconds of overtime after Taylor Braun fouled out, hit two free throws and scored on a difficult baseline leaner with 41 seconds left that put the Bison up by four and ignited the celebration.
Phillips ran over to the fans in green and yellow, threw his arms in the air and screamed at the top of his lungs. No one could hear the excitable North Dakota State coach with all the noise. The Bison quickly realized they grabbed the nation’s attention.
Wisconsin 75, American 35 • In Milwaukee, Ben Brust scored 17 points and second-seeded Wisconsin devastated American with a 22-5 run to close the first half.
The second-seeded Badgers (27-7) recovered from a brief first-half rut and seven-point deficit to extinguish the dreams of the 15th-seeded Eagles (20-13).
After Wisconsin was ousted in the first round last year as a No. 5 seed, Brust made sure his senior season didn’t end the same way. He attacked the glass for baskets on consecutive possessions, ending with a three-point play with 3:33 left in the first half to give Wisconsin a 23-20 lead.
San Diego State 73, New Mexico State 69 (OT) • In Spokane, Wash., Xavier Thames made 10 of his 12 free throws for a game-high 23 points to lead the No. 4-seed Aztecs over the 13th-seeeded Aggies in overtime.