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UB falls short in the NCAA tournament

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

UB's men's basketball team fought the good fight Thursday night in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in Providence before falling to the Miami Hurricanes, 79-72.

The game drew a variety of fans to (716) Food and Sport  inside downtown's HarborCenter.

Keisha Devaughan is a Buffalo State grad taking graduate courses at UB.

"I'm absolutely excited to be here, the second year in a row they made it to the tournament. The women made it too. So, Buffalo is just energized and it's very exciting to see them play today," Devaughan said.

UB led for much of the first half before Miami began to take control late in the second half. At one point, the Hurricanes extended their lead into the double digits. 

But the Bulls fought back behind the efforts of sophomore guard Lamonte Bearden, who scored 19 points while playing all but four minutes of the contest. Forward Nick Perkins scored a career-high 20 points before fouling out after only 23 minutes of playing time.

Most fans seemed pleased by the effort.

"Yeah, just the fact that they're in the tournament is something," said local football hero Niko Davis, who has spent time in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"You always look to get in at first. Then, the year after you build and you build."

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
UB basketball was center stage at (7-1-6) Food and Sport on Thursday.

A table full of UB fans held out hope to the game's end. One student, Carrie, offered a theme familiar to Buffalo sports fans.

"They came a long way and they deserved to win. They had good effort and they tried hard but we got it next year."

Carrie says she's shifting her attention now to the UB women's team and their opening round matchup today with Ohio State in Columbus. The women's tournament features another local team, Saint Bonaventure who plays Oklahoma State later tonight.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.