Rushed Reactions: #12 North Dakota State 80, #5 Oklahoma 75 (OT)Posted by Kenny Ocker on March 20th, 2014
Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCeastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCsouthregion and @RTCwestregion. Kenny Ocker is an RTC correspondent. He is covering the Spokane pods of the East and West regionals this week. He wrote this after 12-seed North Dakota beat 5-seed Oklahoma 80-75 in Spokane on Thursday evening.
Three Key Takeaways.
- “WE’RE STAYING HERE.” North Dakota State coach Saul Phillips wants you to know that he’s not ready to leave the Pacific Northwest just yet, and he wanted his fans to know that too, coming over to visit the Bison faithful after the game ended. The best game of the Spokane sub-regional went down to the wire – twice. North Dakota State came back from three points down with 20 seconds to go to force overtime, then came out and ran Oklahoma off the court in overtime, despite star guard Taylor Braun fouling out halfway through the extra period.
- North Dakota State is one of the nation’s best-shooting teams for a reason. The Bison came into Spokane with the nation’s fifth-best effective field-goal percentage and hit that target again, with an effective field goal rate better than 60 percent despite stars Braun and Marshall Bjorklund being contained well. The pair combined for just 24 points, but guard Lawrence Alexander picked up the slack for them with 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Also, a 20-of-22 performance from the free throw line certainly helped their cause.
- Cameron Clark showed up at the biggest possible time. The Oklahoma forward carried his team’s offense late in the game, jump-starting it with a shot after an eight-plus-minute field-goal drought, putting the Sooners within two with three minutes to go. From then through the end of regulation, he had seven of his team’s nine points, and finished with 25.
Star of the Game: You’d think it was Alexander, but it wasn’t. Instead, it was reserve guard Carlin Dupree. The freshman came off the bench when Braun fouled out and hit a pair of free throws and then a tough layup to give the Bison a four-point lead with 40 seconds to go, which proved to put the game on ice.
- “I got the bounce pass and I took the shot.” – Lawrence Alexander
- “What did you say when it was in the air?” – Taylor Braun
- “Buck-eeeeeets!” – Lawrence Alexander
Sights and Sounds: North Dakota State fans would like you to know that it’s pronounced “Buys-in.” Like you’re playing poker … The aforementioned Bison fans are the loudest and most engaged ones in Spokane … Is there ever an occasion where Oklahoma’s band doesn’t play “Boomer Sooner”?
What’s Next? The Bison, as Phillips reminded us all, are staying here, and will get the winner of San Diego State and New Mexico State on Saturday. Either way, we get a three-word-state-school battle Saturday in Spokane. For Oklahoma, coach Lon Kruger gets a chance to watch protege Dana Altman play in the round of 32 Saturday, now that his schedule is free.