Published March 17, 2016
PROVIDENCE — UB junior Michael Ryman realizes he sounds a bit cliché, but he really believes the third time will be the charm for the UB men’s basketball team.
Ryman was nothing but upbeat after watching the Bulls fall to Miami Thursday night in the NCAA tournament. He made the six-and-a-half-hour drive from Buffalo to Providence Thursday afternoon with Brandan Radford, a UB senior, because of “school pride,” he said. And the Bulls didn’t disappoint.
“It was an awesome game. It was amazing. They got back to the dance, even though they weren’t supposed to, so I am very encouraged,” said Ryman, an Ellenville native. “It’s really great to see the team can compete with a highly ranked team. I’m not disappointed one bit.”
Radford, who is from Wichita, Kansas, was hoarse after the game.
He really thought the Bulls had a chance to beat Miami. And he was almost right. UB lost to Miami, 79-72, Thursday night in a game that was close the entire 40 minutes.
“Really up until the last minute, they were very much in that thing,” Radford said. “The team keeps improving and they are full of young talent, so who knows what will happen next year.”
But Radford doesn’t just have high hopes for next year — it goes beyond that. And judging by the crowd on hand Thursday, many UB fans agree. There was a large contingent of blue and white cheering on the Bulls all game long.
“You can sense the excitement around basketball growing around campus, especially with the women’s team making the tournament this year, too,” he said. “I think the university will start to focus on basketball, alums will start to give to the program and things will really take off. We are part of the beginning here.”
That’s exactly why Kate and Tom Bango brought their 2- and 4-year-old children to Providence — to be part of the buzz around the basketball team.
Tom, who graduated from UB in 1980, never thought the Bulls would make two straight NCAA tournaments. He missed last year’s tournament game and told his wife this year was a must.
“You can just feel something special going on around UB hoops and it’s so exciting,” he said. “They lost last year in a tight game, and tonight a few shots here and a few shots there, they could have had that game. We’ll be back and I wanted to be able to say we were here when it all started.”
“What an amazing run this has been for our Bulls. I’m so proud of our outstanding players for how they represented UB in the national arena, and for the energy, determination and spirit they brought to each and every game this season. This has been another season for the history books, and it’s been inspiring for our entire UB community and for Bulls fans everywhere.
Congratulations and many thanks to Director of Athletics Allen Greene, Coach Nate Oats, and the entire men’s basketball team on an exceptional year. Go Bulls!”