On Wednesday, McBrayer wiped tears from his eyes after he hit a crucial 3-pointer in his team's come-from-behind win over No. 24 Nebraska in Minneapolis.
Minnesota was down double digits in the second half to Nebraska, which wore "RIP Tayra" warm-up shirts before the game, but the Golden Gophers made a late charge. McBrayer's 3-pointer with 4:40 to play cut Nebraska's lead to three points, 71-68. It was a key moment that encouraged Minnesota's 19-7 run and eventual 85-78 victory.
After the win, McBrayer wept with a towel over his head as his teammates surrounded him. Nebraska coach Tim Miles hugged him.
"I'm proud of him," said Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, as he fought back tears after the game. "To do that when you lose your mom at this age, that's really, really hard, so I'm proud of him."
Golden Gophers guard Amir Coffey, who scored a game-high 32 points, said the team thought about McBrayer and his mother throughout the night.
"Obviously, the team's going through a tough time with the loss of Dupree's mom," Coffey said after the win. "That was in the back of our minds all game. ... We just fought for him."
According to the Star Tribune, McBrayer credited McFarlane, a single mother and correctional officer, with introducing him to basketball and sacrificing so he and his siblings could enjoy extracurricular activities.
McFarlane, 58, was diagnosed with cancer in the fall, months after retiring. Last month, McBrayer, a New York native, hopped a train from Boston to see his mother before his team's matchup at Boston College in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. McBrayer shared his feelings about his "best friend" on social media following her death on Monday.
Heartbroken To Say The Least .. Woke Up Thinking Yesterday Was A Dream But It Finally Hit Me. Reality Sets In And My Mother Is Gone. With Cancer Taking Her Away From. RIP Momma And I Hope To Make You Proud Everyday ❤️ pic.twitter.com/rEhfX6LIiM— Dupree McBrayer (@InPree_WeTrust) December 4, 2018
I know what you're going thru young 👑 I lost my mother recently the same way. keep striving for greatness and know both of our mom's are with us every step of the way. Make her proud!— marcus smart (@smart_MS3) December 4, 2018
"The gas was off and the electric was off," McBrayer told the Star Tribune about McFarlane earlier this season. "But she would try to earn enough to get it back on. She did the best she could to put me through the best life. I couldn't be more thankful to her."