UMBC pulls off historic run with win over Virginia

By Jordan Johnson

The UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County) men’s basketball team pulled off arguably the biggest upset in college basketball with their 74-54 win over Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament last Friday night in Charlotte.

This was historic, as UMBC became the first 16 seed in the NCAA tournament to ever beat a number 1 seed in the tournament. They would go on to fall against 9th seeded Kansas State in the 2nd round of the tournament, but that still doesn’t take away from the historic run.

UMBC barely made it into the tournament after beating Vermont on a game winning jump shot by senior guard Jairus Lyles to win the America East tournament. Lyles, along with fellow senior guard K.J. Maura, gained instant fame within minutes after the game ended for their performances.

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UMBC Guard K.J. Maura hits a layup against Virginia. (Photo courtesy of usatoday.com)

Not to mention the UMBC athletics Twitter account was very lit, not only during the upset, but also during their loss in the 2nd round to Kansas State. Before the game Friday, the account had only about 5k followers. As of Monday Morning, the account has over 100k followers.

I talked to Kyle McFadden of Maryland Sports Access, who says he was the only reporter from the Baltimore area onsite for the game in Charlotte. According to McFadden, “the arena was palpable. So many swings in energy. UMBC fans occupied a little section behind press row.” 

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KJ Maura celebrates with a teammate. (Photo courtesy of reviewjournal.com)

After the win, Mcfadden described the locker room as “crazy, from the celebration to the media scrum to the convos.”

All in all, this was not only a great win for the Retrievers, but for the community and the state.