After San Diego State’s 73-69 victory coach Steve Fisher joked that he would take the team white water rafting the next day. But the Aztecs wouldn’t have had time to wait for breakfast if they had lost.
The losing team of Saturday’s NCAA tournament games had to fly home that night, something Fisher took exception with after the game. SDSU’s opponent, New Mexico State, had to take the first flight home despite not finishing with their postgame interviews until after 11 p.m.
“It’s disgraceful. With the billions of dollars that we have here for them not to find a way to accommodate these kids, the student athletes, you can’t tell me they couldn’t find charter planes,” Fisher said. “And that’s what they told me. I shouldn’t have to call the NCAA and I did today.”
Fisher added that he would like to have NCAA administrators ride home with the losing team.
“It can’t happen, but it happened. (NMSU coach) Marvin Menzies and his team, they’re going home tonight. They didn’t want to go home tonight,” Fisher said. “Is that right? Is that fair? Come on.”
Bison freshman point guard shows poise
Freshman guard Carlin Dupree was put in quite a daunting position against Oklahoma on Thursday.
North Dakota State leading scorer Taylor Braun fouled out with 1:18 remaining in overtime.
Moments later, Oklahoma knotted the score at 72.
Dupree knew what faced him. He had to go against full-court pressure, and he didn’t flinch.
He was fouled just 4 seconds after he started heading up court. He made both ends of the one-and-one situation to put the Bison ahead to stay.
Dupree followed by driving for a tough layup with 41 seconds to go as NDSU held off the Sooners 80-75 before a crowd of 10,962 in the NCAA second-round game at the Arena.
“I had actually gone to put Mike Felt in and then I remembered we better keep press break first. So I thought Carlin would go in there and pass and catch and get the ball to someone that was playing pretty well – like Lawrence (Alexander).”
Dupree’s four points were as big as the 3-pointer that Alexander hit to send the game into overtime, and Dupree showed as much poise in the postgame news conference.
“I just waited for a little bit and I saw that it was clearing out and my first reaction was just to go like I’ve been doing in practice,” he said. “I got the foul, knocked down the free throws, so it was just a great experience for me.”
Matter of perspective
At Michigan State, even an 18-point NCAA tournament win offers plenty of teachable moments.
“That’s a polite way of saying I was chewing somebody out,” MSU coach Tom Izzo joked after the Spartans’ 93-78 win over Delaware.
“Teaching? Yeah, that sounds better. Moms like that better,” Izzo said while picking a few nits: Careless fouls, lack of hustle by some reserve big men, giving up dribble penetration and sending the Blue Hens to the line 39 times.
The smaller Blue Hens responded by hitting 30 free throws, helping them stay in the game until late in the second half.