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Bison Players and Coaches Reflect on Season after First Four loss to Wagner

Bryce Harris speaking at a post-game press conference. (Photo Courtesy of Branson Brooks from March Madness YouTube).

Following a 71-68 loss in the 2024 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament, members of the Howard men’s basketball, including players and coaches, took the opportunity to reflect on both the season and the game.

Howard matched up against Wagner University on March 19 in the First Four round of the NCAA tournament also known as the March Madness tournament. 

The teams would trade baskets for the early part of the contest, but the Seahawks were able to sustain a double-digit lead late in the half by continuing to hit timely shots, prohibiting the Bison from gaining any rhythm. The score at halftime read 38-27 in favor of the Seahawks. 

Trailing by 13 points with only five minutes left in the game, the Bison face a daunting challenge. However, the team’s resilience and persistence forged through injuries and a challenging schedule, manifested itself through a late-game surge. The Bison shot their way to a 13-2 run, narrowing the gap to 69-66 with one minute remaining. 

Seth Towns bringing the ball up against Tahron Allen. (Photo Courtesy of @harmonylovemedia and @visualsbydaysia).

After sending the Seahawks to the free throw line, the Bison had the ball in the final seconds and had three opportunities to take the game into overtime, but they were unable to capitalize.

During the post-game press conference, junior guard Bryce Harris and graduate forward Seth Towns alongside coach Kenneth Blakeney, addressed the loss and the resiliency the team has shown all season long.

Blakeney was pleased with the concluding moments of the game, remarking, “We still were able to get three great looks at the basket, but sometimes the basketball gods are with you and sometimes they’re not.”

With this being Towns’ third university after a lengthy collegiate athletics career, he talked about how this season and team have differed from previous years.

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“I think we faced more adversity than any team that I’ve ever been a part of this year, with injury in particular. And then not just with injury, but with dropping games that we didn’t expect, and how we had to fight back and come together as a group, it’s a testament to who we’ve been all season. I just couldn’t be more proud of this group!” Towns exclaimed.

As the longest-tenured Bison on the roster this season, having been at Howard since 2021, Harris shared his perspective on the significance of this year for the program, both on and off the court.

“Playing on a basketball team is one of the more beautiful things in life because it gives you a group of brothers who have a common goal and it allows you to have a deeper connection past just being a teammate,” Harris said.

“So what we speak a lot about is having brothers, you know, you wanna have brothers, you’re gonna go through things with your brothers, you’re gonna have good moments, you’re gonna have bad moments, you’re gonna have moments where you’re mad at your brother, your brother’s mad at you, but you guys have to go through the rocky mountain and get over it and especially to reach that common goal,” Harris said in a monologue that garnered millions of likes across social media.

“So in a nutshell that is basically what it was, just understanding each other, understanding our whys, why we play the game, who introduced us to the game, what’s carrying us through any type of adversity that we have, whether it’s basketball wise or life in general,” he finished.

The post-game comments provided a perspective from two players who entered the Howard men’s basketball program at different periods, but the similarities in their sentiments speak to the team’s culture.

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Copy edited by D’ara Campbell


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