When Weber State took an 81-75 lead over North Dakota with 51 seconds remaining in Saturday’s Big Sky Tournament championship, the game appeared to be over.
Someone forgot to tell Geno Crandall that.
The Fighting Hawks guard hit a pair of free throws that were immediately followed by a Cortez Seales steal. The steal lead to a Quinton Hooker layup off an assist by Crandall to cut the deficit to just two points. After Jeremy Senglin’s layup came up short on the other end, Crandall made another great cut to the basket to tie the game with eight seconds left. Crandall tallied four points, a rebound and an assist in the final 48 seconds of regulation to bring his team back and force overtime.
Crandall would be called on again to be the hero in overtime when he stepped to the free throw line with 22 seconds left and his team leading 91-89. He knocked down both foul shots to effectively ice the game and seal the 93-89 victory for North Dakota. Senior guard Quinton Hooker finished with 28 points, and six UND players posted double-digit scoring totals.
The overtime win means that North Dakota punched their first-ever ticket to the Big Dance after making the jump to Division-1 just nine years ago. Head coach Brian Jones, who has been at the helm for 15 years now, had this to say after the win:
“I’m still in awe. I’m just so proud of them, I don’t even know what to say. It’s been such a special year. I’m just excited that we get to continue to play and be on the biggest stage of college basketball.”
North Dakota, along with 67 other teams, will be anxiously waiting to find out who their next opponent will be. The entire bracket will be revealed during the CBS Selection Sunday show at 5:30 p.m. ET.