UB Athletics’ top 10 moments in March
March was an eventful month for UB Athletics. It saw the conclusion of two of the most historic basketball seasons in school history. Take a look at our list highlighting the top 10 sport moments of the month.
10. Kyle Hughes hits half-court shot and is featured on ESPN
Senior Kyle Hughes made a half-court shot during a halftime promotion at a men’s basketball game between UB and Akron on Feb. 27. UB Athletics offers “pizza for a year” for any student that makes a half-court shot. Hughes was initially awarded 12 medium pizzas — one for each month of the year. The prize was later upgraded to 12 large pizzas and 120 wings.
The shot and following celebration were featured on ESPN. Scott Van Pelt discussed the shot and Hughes was interviewed by Randy Scott on “Sportscenter AM” the next morning.
9. Mark Alnutt named new athletic director
Mark Alnutt, former deputy athletic director at the University of Memphis, was named UB director of athletics on March 21. Alnutt will succeed former Athletic Director Allen Greene, who left in Jan. for the same position at Auburn University.
Alnutt attended the University of Missouri where he was a three-time letterman on the football team. Alnutt starts the position Wednesday.
8. Nate Oats signs contract extension
Athletics announced men’s basketball head coach Nate Oats signed an extension on his contract until 2023 during the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Oats arrived as an assistant coach under previous head coach Bobby Hurley. He has now been the head coach for three seasons. This season, he secured the program’s first regular season MAC title and was named the MAC Coach of the Year.
7. Bryan Lantry makes it to day two of NCAA Tournament
Redshirt sophomore 133-pounder Bryan Lantry found his way to day two of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in March. Lantry and redshirt sophomore heavyweight Jake Gunning were the only two Bulls to qualify for the championships this year. It was Lantry’s third year qualifying for the championships and Gunning’s second. Lantry went 1-1 on day one of the tournament and recorded a victory against Northwestern’s Colin Valdiviez. He lost his match on day two, ending his run in the tournament.
6. Women’s tennis goes undefeated in March
The women’s tennis team (12-3, 6-0 MAC) dominated in March, going undefeated. They went a perfect 7-0 and opened up MAC play going 3-0. They recorded a 6-1 victory over the Miami (OH) RedHawks (8-8, 4-1 MAC) in a rematch of last year’s MAC title game. They also won three of the matches by a score of 7-0.
5. Ally Power opens MAC play with no-hitter
Junior pitcher Ally Power opened up conference play for the Bulls softball team (13-20, 5-4 MAC) with a no-hitter in a 9-1 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles (6-27, 2-8 MAC). It was the fourth no-hitter in program history and the second no-hitter in a row to come during the conference opener. The Eagles scored their lone run, hitting a sacrifice fly to bring in a runner who had been walked.
4. Women’s basketball receives first at-large bid to NCAA Tournament
The women’s basketball team had one of the greatest seasons in program history that included wins over Clemson, Nebraska and University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The team had an RPI ranking in the Top-25 for most of the season, despite never being in the Top-25 polls. The Bulls were unable to secure the MAC title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after losing in the finals. But during the selection show they were picked for the first at-large bid in school history, entering as a No. 11 seed.
3. Men’s basketball wins third MAC Championship in four years
The men’s basketball team solidified its place at the top of the MAC with its third conference title in four years. The Bulls played consistently throughout the tournament, securing double-digit victories in all three games. Senior guard Wes Clark was named MVP of the tournament. Clark and junior guard Jeremy Harris were named to the all-tournament squad. Clark had 26 points in the championship game to lead the Bulls over the Toledo Rockets.
2. Men’s basketball wins first NCAA Tournament game
The Bulls went on to record their first victory in the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Bulls entered the game as a No. 13 seed and were taking on the No. 4 seed Arizona Wildcats. After a close first half where Buffalo led 40-38, the Bulls broke open the game in the second half. They outscored in the second half 49-30 to come away with an 89-68 win. Clark continued to dominate in the postseason with a 25-point performance going 10-of-14 shooting.
1. Women’s basketball advances to Sweet 16 in NCAA Tournament
The women weren’t going to be outdone by the men and took their at-large bid all the way to the Sweet 16. They opened up the tournament with a 102-79 win over the No. 6 seed South Florida Bulls and followed it up with an 86-65 win over the No. 3 seed Florida State Seminoles. The Bulls run would eventually end with a loss to the defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks. Junior guard Cierra Dillard led the tournament and averaged 29 points per game during the Bulls’ run. After the season, the women’s team received the first Top-25 ranking of either basketball team in program history, finishing No. 21 in the coaches’ poll.