Marching out of the madness
Much’s exhilarating dunk highlights Bulls Madness event
Published: Sunday, October 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 27, 2013 13:10
Fans were looking for a reason to get on their feet at Bulls Madness on Friday night. Two freshmen on the men’s basketball team delivered the excitement in the dunk contest.
On the final dunk of the night, Shannon Evans and Deyshonee Much teamed up and wowed the crowd with a jaw-dropping display of choreography and athleticism. Much walked toward the basket empty-handed until the ball seemed to suddenly drop from the rafters of Alumni Arena. Evans had made a bounce-pass alley-oop from the 200-level of the bleachers.
Much soared to the ball, did a 180 in the air and flushed it through the basket, sending the crowd roaring.
“I didn’t even know he was there until I saw the ball go over my head,” said senior geology major Tom Mastropasqua of Evans’ pass from section 204. “It was a sweet dunk that occurred just right in front of my face.”
Members of both basketball teams stormed the court to congratulate Much.
“[When I saw the pass] I was like, ‘I gotta finish it,’” Much said. “There’s no second, third try with this dunk. You get it on the first try or you don’t get it at all.”
The men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted Bulls Madness – essentially the preseason basketball pep rally – on Friday evening. The event included player introductions, a three-point contest, a shooting competition involving one player from each squad and a UB student, intersquad scrimmages and a dunk contest with the men’s basketball team.
Evans and Much recorded a perfect score from the judges – Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson, Bills defensive back Aaron Williams, WGRZ-TV anchor Melissa Holmes and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. They also received a perfect score on their first-round dunk, which featured a pass off the side of the backboard from Evans that Much caught and slammed home.
They weren’t the only ones electrifying the arena during the dunk contest. With the first dunk of the final round, senior guard Josh Freelove emerged from behind the stands sporting a Bobby Hurley No. 7 Sacramento Kings jersey.
Freelove started from the corner of the court and ran down the baseline. He put the ball between his legs, did a reverse dunk and received a perfect score from the panel.
Sophomore guard Mackenzie Loesing won the three-point contest, beating out two of her teammates, three members of the men’s team and the Bills’ Williams. Loesing hit four of her final six shots in the championship round to defeat sophomore guard Jarryn Skeete.
“Sometimes you just have to show the boys how it’s done,” Loesing said. “There absolutely was [trash talking between the guys and girls], but it’s always in good fun. They always think they are going to win, but little do they know we have what it takes to beat them.”
Women’s head coach Felisha Legette-Jack brought intensity to the crowd after entering the court through a blue-smoke filled tunnel. She demanded fans get on their feet and prepare for an exciting night of Bulls basketball.
“I just love the transformation going on,” Legette-Jack said. “The enthusiasm has taken a leap by 100 miles per hour.
“We don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring. We’re not promising to win every single game, but we know that if [fans] come, we are going to compete and give everything we have.”
The men’s regular season starts on the road at Texas A&M Nov. 9 and the women start their season at Binghamton Nov. 8. Both teams’ home openers are set for Nov. 16 in a doubleheader event at Alumni Arena.