SPOKANE, Wash. — Saul 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. There was too much noise from the Bison celebrating the biggest win in school history.
Lawrence Alexander hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to force overtime and freshman Carlin Dupree scored four points in the final 75 seconds as No. 12 seed North Dakota State knocked off Oklahoma 80-75 Thursday night.
The Bison (26-6) picked up their first NCAA tournament win by rallying in the final minute and then outlasting the No. 5 seed 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.
Dupree came on in the closing seconds of overtime after Taylor Braun fouled out. He hit two free throws and scored on a difficult baseline leaner with 41 seconds left.
Cameron Clark led Oklahoma (23-10) with 25 points.
Wisconsin 75, American 35
MILWAUKEE — A sea of fans wearing Wisconsin red roared after every stop and every score, growing more exuberant as the Badgers’ NCAA opener became a historic rout.
Playing the first two tournament games close to home was a goal all year, and Wisconsin players fed off the energy to extinguish any upset hopes of 15th-seeded American.
Ben Brust scored 17 points and the No. 2 seed devastated the Eagles with a 22-5 run to close the first half in Thursday’s victory in Milwaukee, barely 90 minutes from their campus in Madison. The Badgers will play Oregon in the third round of the West Regional on Saturday.
Wisconsin (27-7) recovered from a brief first-half rut as the Eagles (20-13), champions of the Patriot League, built a seven-point lead with their Princeton-style offense.
“It was good to get the building loud,” Brust said. “I said, ‘Hey, they’re up. We better wake up.’”
Trailing 17-10 about midway through the first half, the Badgers took away the backdoor cuts, forced turnovers and otherwise flustered American into 4-of-26 shooting over the final 29 minutes. One field-goal drought lasted nearly 14 minutes.
“That’s pretty crazy,” guard Josh Gasser said. “That must mean you did something well.”
The Eagles don’t encounter the type of execution and athleticism displayed by Wisconsin in the Patriot League.
“They’re a No. 2 seed for a reason,” coach Mike Brennan said.
Oregon 87, BYU 68
This was one sweet homecoming for Elgin Cook. The rest of the Oregon Ducks made themselves at home, too.
Backed by a vocal group of family and friends, Cook scored a career-high 23 points to power the seventh-seeded Ducks to victory over No. 10 seed BYU.
“Elgin Cook had a great game,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “He finished everything down low.”
Joseph Young had 19 points for the Ducks (24-9), who had to stage a big comeback to beat the Cougars 100-96 in overtime in December. There was no comeback needed this time, with Oregon turning away every BYU charge in the second half.
Led by Cook, a Milwaukee native who starred at nearby Hamilton High School, the Ducks advanced to a third-round game against No. 2 seed Wisconsin on Saturday. The Badgers, playing just 80 miles from their Madison campus, beat American 75-35 in the day’s first game at the Bradley Center.
“It’s definitely special to me confidence-wise, but overall it means nothing,” Cook said. “We’re not satisfied, we haven’t won anything yet.”
Tyler Haws scored 19 points for BYU (23-12), which returned to the NCAA tournament after a one-year absence. Matt Carlino and Eric Mika had 15 points apiece.