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UB fans Bull-ish on basketball team after huge NCAA win

If you want to know how everyone at the University at Buffalo felt after Thursday night's historic NCAA Tournament win by the men's basketball team, watch the video of Kyle Hughes dashing out of his apartment after the game.

The UB senior, wearing only a T-shirt, shorts and socks, jumped off a step and crashed onto a folding table set up on the sidewalk, breaking it in half as he fell to the ground.

Hughes – best known as the student who sank a half-court shot at a UB home game to win the princely prize of 12 medium pizzas – let out a guttural roar before hurling a section of table out onto the snow-covered lawn.

"I know I owe my roommate a new table," Hughes said Friday morning.

UB student who won 12 pizzas for hitting half-court shot responds to big upset in most Buffalo way possible

It's table-breaking time at UB, which shocked the college basketball world when it beat the University of Arizona Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the men's basketball team's first-ever win in the main tournament field.

The unlikely victory sent students, alumni, faculty and staff flocking to social media to celebrate in the minutes and hours after the game, and sent an electric charge through the campus that still seemed to be vibrating on Friday morning.

Students and staff took pride in the win and said they're savoring the national attention UB is earning for its tournament performance.

"I think it's really good for the college itself. It really helps bind the student body together," said Derrick Calloway, a line cook at the Tiffin Room restaurant inside the Student Union on the UB North Campus. "The buzz is out there. People are actually asking, 'Did you watch the game last night?' "

UB students, who can be fickle in their support of the school's sports teams, threw themselves behind the men's team as this season went on, creating a raucous atmosphere at Alumni Arena.

"People were like, 'Yo, we're really good this year,' " said Lance White, a freshman from Brooklyn who is a media study major.

Jerry Sullivan: Pinch yourself – UB blows out Arizona in the Big Dance

White wore a UB Bulls winter cap and carried a basketball, and the recreational player said the team's success is "inspiring me to keep going at it."

The UB men cinched an NCAA bid by winning the Mid-American Conference tournament, earning a No. 13 seed and a matchup with fourth-seeded Arizona in the first round.

Few prognosticators picked UB to beat the powerful Wildcats.

"I saw that literally none of the experts had them," said Max Kravatz, a sophomore business major from Long Island.

"I thought they had a chance, but I did not bank on them winning," said Asia McInnis, a freshman and member of the women's track and field team from suburban Rochester.

Asia McInnis, a UB freshman from suburban Rochester, is a big fan of the UB men's basketball team. (Buffalo News/Stephen T. Watson)

UB students watched in their apartments, dormitories and homes, while fans packed bars across the area to cheer on the blue and white.

The Santora's Pizza Pub & Grill restaurants in Amherst are second homes for UB alumni and members of the school's athletics department. The location on Flint Road was dressed up with UB-themed decorations and stuffed with fans for Thursday night's game, despite its late start.

"It was so fun. People were yelling and cheering," said Rhonda Honan, bar manager at the Flint Road Santora's.

Some viewers had a good feeling right from the beginning.

Marissa Saber, a sophomore pharmacy major from the Town of Tonawanda, pointed to CJ Massinburg hitting the first 3-point shot of the game.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, they might actually have a shot,' " said Daniel Kane, a freshman electrical engineering major also from the Town of Tonawanda.

Others felt more confident as UB rolled up a large lead in the second half.

As time wound down on the remarkable UB win, the emotion flowed freely from fans.

"I was just like, holy [cow], is this really happening?" said Kravatz, the student from Long Island.

Twitter and Facebook blew up after the game, but some fans – including at least one well-known one – didn't restrict their enthusiasm to the online world.

"Kentucky – you're next!" CNN anchor, UB alum and Kenmore West graduate said Friday on Twitter.

McInnis, who has a double major in nursing and health and human services, said a large group of students went outside and rolled around in the snow while screaming as loud as they could. Some shook and sprayed cans of pop in place of Champagne.

"Everyone was just going wild," she said.

Hughes, the superfan, said he was inspired to jump on a table by UB men's basketball coach Nate Oats, who predicted students would react that way.

Hughes had responded on Twitter, saying, "If we win, I got you, coach."

He said his big concern wasn't the winter conditions: "I didn't want to hit the table and bounce off."

Most people managed to celebrate without getting themselves arrested. Not so Ryan Shechet, a 19-year-old UB student from Rochester, who was charged early Friday after someone set a couch on fire in the middle of East Northrup Place near UB's South Campus.

Student arrested at furniture-fueled bonfire after UB's NCAA tourney win

Friday morning, the win was the talk of much of the UB North Campus.

In the Student Union, the university-owned Campus Tees shop was doing a brisk business in UB MAC Champion T-shirts.

"I just got a bunch of web orders this morning. People are buying two, up to like 10, today," said employee Megan Sheer.

Megan Sheer, an employee at UB-owned Campus Tees in the Student Union. (Buffalo News/Stephen T. Watson)

Saber, the Tonawanda resident, linked the Bulls' victory to the Bills finally ending their playoff drought after 17 seasons.

"It was a good year for Buffalo sports," she said.

White, the Brooklyn native, also made that comparison.

"It's the same kind of energy, that pride – that community pride," he said.

With one upset in the books, do UB fans believe the team has a chance to do it again against the University of Kentucky on Saturday?

"I don't want to say anything about that game," Kane said, turning to knock on a wooden end table.

Calloway, the Tiffin Room cook, said he picked UB to beat Arizona in his bracket and "I actually have them beating Kentucky."

Saturday features the UB men and women playing on St. Patrick's Day.

"I think it's going to be crazy," said Honan, the Santora's bar manager.

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