Men’s basketball get knocked out first round of March Madness

Becky Chambers, Senior Writer

The Orange and Blue went dancing this year in the NCAA Tournament. After winning the Patriot League Championship and a berth to March Madness, the No. 13 seed Bison traveled to Buffalo, N.Y. on March 16 to face No. 4 seed West Virginia University (WVU). The team played one of its best games in a stadium filled with fans, which boiled down to free throws and fouls where WVU had the upper hand. The Bison ultimately lost 80-86.

“It feels great to have won the Patriot League Championship and we are excited about the opportunity [to] have compet[ed] in the NCAA Tournament,” Zachary Thomas ’18 said.

Nana Foulland ’18 tipped off and followed it up with the first points on the board. The Bison came out strong and made WVU play the catch-up game for the first few minutes. WVU then came and began to build their lead, but the Orange and Blue never let them get too far ahead. For most of the game, WVU only had a five-point lead.

Halfway through the first half, Kimbal Mackenzie ’19 scored seven points in one minute and Foulland followed that energy up with a slam dunk with 9:37 left. Stephen Brown ’18 continued to build upon that energy and scored a tip shot, making the score 25-31 in WVU’s favor. The teams continued to score back and forth until the last 90 seconds where WVU really took off, ending the first half with a score of 33-42.

“It is fun to have made it this far,” Foulland said.

After halftime, WVU got the first points on the board but the Bison countered with a 3-pointer by Mackenzie. Thomas then scored on a lay-up and Foulland rounded out the scoring streak with another dunk, bringing the score to 40-45. The Orange and the Blue attempted to close that gap, but WVU always countered, keeping the lead. Mackenzie continued to score multiple 3-pointers throughout the remainder of the second half, as did Brown and Nate Jones ’19. At one point, the Bison closed the gap to three points with nine minutes left.

The last few minutes of the game saw WVU sink several free throws, which ultimately gave them the advantage. Brown took the ball from WVU with seven seconds left on the clock and scored a pull-up jump 3-pointer, making the Bison the first and the last to score in their single NCAA game. Brown made the final score 80-86.

Nate Sestina ’19 made it clear that even making it to the national stage was an honor.

“To be in the NCAA Tournament is a dream come true. I’ve watched this since I was a little kid with my brother Andrew and my dad,” Sestina said. “But what makes it so special is to be in it with such an incredible group of guys. We have a special team and people don’t even know how lucky I am to be a part of this team.”

The Bison played well the entire time and gave WVU a run for their money. It was a game to be proud of and the players should be very excited to have made it to the Big Dance.

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