The Blackburn ballroom was filled with excitement and anticipation as Howard University hosted a watch party for their first-round game against the Kansas Jayhawks in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Bison earned a spot in the tournament for the first time since 1992, and the campus community was ready to cheer them on to victory.
The atmosphere was electric as students, faculty and alumni donned their blue and white Bison gear and gathered around the large screen set up in the center of the ballroom. The smell of popcorn and the sound of cheers filled the air as tip-off approached.
As the game got underway, the gathered crowd cheered with keen anticipation as every collective “Oh no!” was seemingly met with a “Yes! We can do this!” for the first fifteen minutes of play, where the Bison would find themselves tied with the Jayhawks 33-33 with just under five minutes remaining in the first half.
Unfortunately, for those in attendance, the Jayhawks ended the half on a 16-4 run to go ahead 50-37 and never looked back. Mirroring the qualities their team had displayed all season, the Bison faithfully refused to be deterred, cheering on their team with every basket and defensive stop.
In efforts to keep the community engaged during the break, raffle tickets were distributed and multiple winners were announced. Additionally, some Bison cheerleaders that did not travel with the team pushed their energy into the herd with a performance that kept them fully engaged and had them filled with school spirit going into the second half.
Despite a valiant effort by Howard, the Jayhawks ultimately proved too strong, and the Bison fell by a final score of 96-68. Even in defeat, the Howard community remained proud of their team’s accomplishments and the historic season they had enjoyed.
“Congratulations to (Howard men’s basketball) on a terrific season and your successes on and off the court,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick via twitter following the loss. “You have much to be proud of in the history you continue to make. Keep pushing.”
As the watch party came to a close, many Bison fans lingered in the ballroom, discussing the game and the season that had come before it. The sense of pride and accomplishment was palpable, as everyone recognized the significance of what the team had achieved.
“This has been an unforgettable season for Howard basketball,” said junior acting major William Davis. “We may not have made it past the first round, but we showed the world what we are capable of, and we made history in the process. I couldn’t be more proud to be a Bison today.”
As the campus emptied out and the lights in the Blackburn ballroom were switched off, the memories of the historic season and the watch party would linger on in the hearts and minds of the Howard community and they are excited for what’s to come.
Copy edited by Jadyn Barnett