UB basketball bringing the celebration to Buffalo
Men’s and women’s basketball teams celebrate seasons at pep rally
It was nothing but smiles and cheers for the men’s and women’s basketball teams as they celebrated their most successful Division I seasons in both programs’ histories at the UB basketball postseason celebration.
Players and coaches attended Alumni Arena Friday evening to celebrate the teams’ combined 56 wins and home record of 26-1. The women’s basketball team ended the season in the 21 spot on the national coaches ranking, a first for the program. The men’s basketball team won its third MAC Championship in the past four years.
True Blue led a crowd of several hundred UB fans and gave the teams standing ovations. The celebration focused around both program’s first wins in the NCAA Tournament.
“To me it is only the beginning and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” said new UB Athletic Director Mark Alnutt.
Alnutt went on to congratulate both teams, but specifically called out the women's team.
“This women’s team is a little more special to me. … You guys made it look like South Florida didn’t exist,” Alnutt said. “I remember watching that game from my house with my 10-year-old son. He said, “Dad, I got Buffalo.’”
Alnutt said after that game he knew if he received the AD position, he would make it to Albany to see the women’s basketball team’s first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen.
“What impressed me was how hard you guys played. You guys showed energy. You guys showed toughness,” Alnutt said. “Getting to see the fans in Albany really hit me in the heart to see all those Buffalo fans come out.”
Alnutt went on to thank Victor E. Bull, the UB pep band, cheerleaders, fans and True Blue for the support this season.
True Blue member Kyle Hughes discussed his half-court basket and how he uses his prize of 12 large pizzas with 120 wings.
“There is no calendar. Usually the question is ‘am I low on dining dollars? Have I eaten yet today?’” Hughes said. “There really is no rhyme or reason to it.”
Men’s basketball head coach Nate Oats said he felt like Buffalo “exploded” in support for the teams. Oats commemorated senior guard Wes Clark at the event for his time at UB and scoring 1015 points in his NCAA career. Oats said the goal for next season is to win another MAC Championship, MAC season and earn more NCAA Tournament wins.
“We coming Sweet Sixteen. Elite Eight, we coming,” said junior forward Nick Perkins.
Women’s basketball head coach Felisha Legette-Jack commemorated senior guard Stephanie Reid for leading the Bulls the past three seasons and earning 681 career assists, a program record.
“These 14 young women have brought back a broken coach into believing I can coach the game of basketball,” said Legette-Jack.
Legette-Jack went on to call the class of five seniors this season the best to ever come through the program and said their legacy would live on at UB. She thanked her coaching staff, saying without them the team would never have made it this far. To close the pep-rally, Legette-Jack stated her intentions for next season.
“I like candy, but Elite Eight sounds better to me, Legette-Jack said.”