Stephon Carter was going to be remembered for one of two things from his final Cal State Bakersfield basketball game at Rabobank Arena on Wednesday night:
"The guys in the huddle reminded him," CSUB coach Rod Barnes said. "Will they remember you as the guy who missed the free throws or the guy who makes the free throws?"
Carter sank two free throws with a half-second remaining to lift the Roadrunners to a 79-78 double overtime win over South Dakota State before 1,005 in the arena.
"This was my first buzzer-beating free throws," said Carter, who has 11 of his team-high 22 points during the overtime periods. "My teammates gave me the confidence to knock them down."
The Roadrunners trailed 78-77 after South Dakota State's Chad White hit the second of two free throws to break a tie with 10 seconds left.
CSUB's Adam Young missed a 3-point attempt and Carter was fouled by White trying to get into rebounding position.
"He fouled me, but I wasn't expecting the call," said Carter, who is CSUB's all-time career scoring leader. "I had to take advantage of it."
Carter sank the first free throw and then the Jackrabbits called a timeout.
"My first thing was to make the first one, then a lot of pressure was off of me," Carter said.
Barnes said Carter oozed confidence.
"He told me he was going to hit it, that we were going to win the game," Barnes said.
The Roadrunners improved to 11-16. South Dakota State, a 27-win team and NCAA Tournament qualifier a season ago, fell to 21-8.
The Jackrabbits had a ratings percentage index of 67, likely the highest of any team the Roadrunners have beaten in their Division I era. RPI is used by the NCAA to help select teams for the tournament and is based on a team's won-lost record and opponents' won-lost records.
Barnes said CSUB was coming off his most frustrating loss in his two seasons as the Roadrunners' coach, a six-point overtime loss at Texas-Pan American on Feb. 14.
"We gave away a game six days ago, a super low for me," Barnes said. "Tonight was a super high for me. This was our first win over a team that went to the NCAA Tournament the previous year, at least since I've been here.
"We were coming off a bad game. We don't have a tournament to play for. We aren't going to have a winning season. The guys could have laid down. I told them you can lay down or you can come out and have one of the best wins since we've been a Division I program. I'm proud of their effort."
CSUB trailed 28-20 at halftime after shooting only 17 percent in the first 20 minutes.
The Roadrunners had to overcome a 32-point, nine-assist game from senior guard Nate Wolters, the nation's third-leading scorer among Division I players this season. There were nine NBA scouts representing six teams at the game because of Wolters.
"I knew about the scouts before the game. Coach told me," Carter said. "The main thing was to get the win. It wasn't to score 30 with the NBA scouts here. No. You can't let NBA scouts alter your whole mindset."
Brandon Barnes had 19 points and 10 rebounds for CSU, which also had 16 points from Young and 15 by Javante Maynor.
CSUB's final home game of the season is Saturday at 6 p.m. (a hour earlier than usual) against Pacifica of San Dimas (0-15), which is in its first season as an athletic program.