UMBC’s Locker Room Was So Lit After Becoming First Ever No. 16 To Beat A No. 1 Seed

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

The Retrievers of University of Maryland, Baltimore County refused to become the 136th consecutive No. 16 seed to fall to a No. 1 seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament, knocking off Virginia for the first ever such upset in the history of March Madness.

And they did so in convincing fashion, hanging 53 points in the second half alone against a Virginia team that entered the night surrendering 53.4 per game, the lowest mark in the nation, for a stunning 74-54 upset behind a 28-point performance from senior Jairus Lyles. It was the first time all season the Cavaliers surrendered 70 points or more.

The Cavs were playing without sixth man De’Andre Hunter, who’d suffered a broken wrist.

“We just believed in each other, man,” Lyles said after the final buzzer sounded. “We came with the mind-set, believing in each other and competing, and that’s what we did. We got the W.”

The Retrievers locker room was, predictably, lit, with head coach Ryan Odom instructing Lyles and fellow seniors K.J. Maura and Jourdan Grant to update the team’s massive bracket.

“You started out with your defense. That’s how you did it,” Odom told his players. “You defended at a really high level. Tie game at halftime. You guys knew, just a matter of time, you played freed up and you did some unbelievable things out there. You looked out for one another, you were tough as nails. And now you’re advancing. The key now is you don’t have long to get ready for the next one.”

The Retrievers play the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats on Sunday night in the Round of 32.