- Associated Press - Friday, March 21, 2014

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - North Dakota State freshman Carlin Dupree spent a lot of time on the bench this season. The first round of the NCAA tournament was no different - he’d really only left his seat to cheer.

Until overtime.

Dupree got his chance to play with just 1 minute, 17 seconds left in the game when a teammate fouled out. He took advantage of every second, coming up with four points in the final moments of North Dakota State’s 80-75 victory over Oklahoma.

“Coach was telling me to stay ready because Taylor (Braun) had four fouls,” Dupree said. “He said if he fouls, you’re going in.”

After getting fouled, Dupree knocked down two free throws to break a 72-all tie just 3 seconds after entering the game. Then he made a baseline leaner on their next possession to make it 76-72 with 39 seconds left.

“Biggest shot I hit - ever,” Dupree said. “Biggest two minutes I’ve ever played in my career.”

Coach Saul Phillips called it “the loudest two minutes in the history of the NCAA basketball tournament.”

Entering the game, Dupree had only converted 14 of 24 free throws and his teammates decided to leave him alone to let him concentrate.

“When my time came, I came through,” Dupree added. “That’s what makes even more special. Just coming off the bench, when you get your chance to prove something, you did it.”

NDSU (26-6) picked up its first NCAA tournament win, setting off a celebration for a team that hopes to be a Cinderella story. It was an overwhelming moment for Dupree, who did not play in eight games this season.

“When it was really, really important, he had never lost faith,” Phillips said.

The one person more excited than Dupree? His mom, who was on the phone with him from Milwaukee after the game. “She’s loving every moment of it,” he said.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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