UMBC celebrates historic men's basketball team

Posted at 11:31 PM, Mar 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-27 23:31:05-04

One by one they received a hero's welcome home.

"Just to see the fan base come out and show us love for making history, it's exactly what our team wanted and we love that our fans come out. It's a great feeling," said UMBC guard Jourdan Grant.

The UMBC men's basketball team's historic NCAA Tournament outing was celebrated on Tuesday night at the new Event Center. The Retrievers became  the first No. 16 seed to knock of a No. 1 seed in men's NCAA Tournament history when they topped Virginia two Friday's ago.

Since then some players have watched the replay of that magical night.

"Twice. Two times," said UMBC guard K.J. Maura. "Every time I see it I find some new things that make my heart a little warmer. I love seeing all the smiles on the court."

"I watched it one night at 3:00 a.m. I couldn't sleep and I just turned it on just for my first time just to see it by myself," said Grant. "I got goosebumps watching it. It's crazy."

Fans got goosebumps too. 

Jay Berg will never forget that night. He was part of UMBC's first graduating class in 1970. 

"I cried. I couldn't sleep. I probably had one or two hours of sleep," said Berg.

Head Coach Ryan Odom has been one of the hottest names in the coaching business since the unlikely victory. He is fresh off signing a new contract keeping him on the UMBC sideline.

"It's certainly unlike any other time that we've experienced here at UMBC," he said. "But, it's all good. It's all good stuff. It's great attention for the University. That's what's most important to me."

Odom said he hopes future teams learn from the resiliency and togetherness this year's Dogs played with. Players know their legacy is cemented forever.

"We made history," said UMBC guard Jairus Lyles. "Nobody will ever forget that. First 16 seed to beat a one seed. That legacy explains itself."

"It shows that any day anybody can be beaten," added Grant. "As long as you prepare for it correctly and you believe in yourself you can do it."

During the celebration the Retrievers received a proclamation from Baltimore County designating March 27, 2018 U-M-B-C Men's Basketball Making History Day.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook