It was not the result the Huskies hoped for, but the men’s basketball team made Northeastern proud Thursday afternoon at the NCAA tournament, battling Notre Dame for 40 minutes and unleashing a passionate, fearless effort to give one of the nation’s top teams all it could handle before losing to the Fighting Irish 69-65.
For a complete game recap and in-depth game coverage, visit GoNU.com.
After going through the handshake line, the Northeastern players and coaches walked across the court at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh and clapped and waved their hands in appreciation to the Northeastern fans who had roared throughout the game and had their backs until the final buzzer sounded. The fans returned the feeling with one more loud cheer.
On college basketball’s biggest stage, the Huskies competed with confidence, poise, and passion representative of a proud and confident university. That effort was front and center on TV screens across the nation, with millions of viewers tuning in.
The Huskies’ thrilling run of success this season galvanized the Northeastern community, as fans celebrated the team’s Colonial Athletic Association championship, joined the team at the Selection Sunday rally, packed the Curry Student Center on Thursday afternoon to watch the game together while donning red and black attire, and all along showed their support on social media with #NUmadness.
That Husky pride was in full force in Pittsburgh as well, where students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and many others traveled from all over the country to support the team. The Spirit Squad—consisting of the Northeastern pep band and cheer and dance teams—were hard at work preparing for routines they’d perform during Thursday’s game. Some of those students reflected on how they watched March Madness growing up, and that it was a dream come true to now preform on this stage.
News@Northeastern captured this excitement with behind-the-scenes coverage of the team with a liveblog during the NCAA tournament run.
Throughout the game on Thursday, the Huskies fought back every time the higher-seeded Fighting Irish struck during what was an unforgettable, seesaw battle of a game. Northeastern faced multiple double-digit deficits in the second half, but the team didn’t blink. The players dug deep, seized momentum of their own, continually crashed the boards to gain second-chance points, and made it known they were not going away. The team’s resilience shone through to the very end, as the Huskies forced a turnover in the final minute to gain possession and had the ball in the closing seconds with chance to tie or take the lead.
The Huskies’ determination came as no surprise to head coach Bill Coen.
“I thought our team competed buzzer to buzzer,” Coen said during a postgame press conference. “We left it out on the floor, as you would expect in this type of venue, in this type of environment. I just couldn’t be more proud of this group of young men. They never stopped believing in themselves. They took care of each other on and off the court. They pushed each other. They held each other accountable all year long. And they never, never gave in. So I just couldn’t be more proud.”
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote on Thursday that Northeastern “is emerging as a gleaming jewel in Boston’s emerald necklace of higher education. NU is eating with the big dogs in 2015, and the Huskies’ appearance in the Dance signifies another step in the steady path to national prominence and recognition.”
And like Coen, Huskies everywhere couldn’t be more proud.