KSU falls short to Xavier during NCAA tournament
The Kennesaw State University Owls were ranked as the No. 14 seed and pitted against No. 3 seed Xavier in the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament bracket in Greensboro, N.C. In a game that came down to the final seconds, KSU fell short to Xavier in their first-ever trip to the Tournament with a nail-biter score of 72-67.
As KSU came ever so close to winning, more than 700 students, teachers, and staff watched the game on the big screen in the Owls’ home arena. Other fans traveled to Greensboro in support of the team as they made their first appearance in the Big Dance. The Owls led by as much as 13, with more than ten minutes remaining, but the Musketeers were able to chip away at the score with a scoring 14-0 run. A nearly six-minute scoring drought and miscues by the Owls allowed them to chip away at the lead.
Although they did not advance, everyone in the stands agreed that the Owls sent a message that they are officially on the college basketball map.
From its first season to now, KSU’s program under coach Amir Abdur-Rahim has progressed each year. Starting with a first-season record of 1-28, they have grown the confidence of the players and the program. They had a 5-19 record in his second season and a 13-18 record in his third season. The Owls record this year, (26-8, 15-3 in conference). They also won the Atlantic Sun tournament by defeating Liberty in the conference title game, which secured their trip to the NCAA big dance.
As for their rival during the tournament, the Xavier Musketeers are a member of the Big East Conference and hail from Cincinnati, Ohio.
As they accepted their defeat, Coach Abdur-Rahim and his Owl players stayed classy and focused on the strength of their program which continues to grow.
“It takes a special group of people to commit to something and stay to see that vision through,” Abdur-Rahim said. “The beginning was four years ago, but you better believe this is our standard, this is our expectation. And we’ll be back”