BALTIMORE >> Students at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County didn’t quite know what to do after their basketball team pulled off the biggest upset in NCAA history by beating No. 1 seed Virginia.
The unexpected 74-54 victory Friday night left students at the No. 16 school stunned, but filled with pride.
On campus, students ran to a statue of the UMBC mascot, a Chesapeake Bay retriever named True Grit. Some flung themselves across the statue. Others hugged it and posed beside it for photos.
UMBC, with 14,000 students, is part of the University System of Maryland. The research university is known more for math and science than sports.
Students at UMBC are researching ways to build batteries from glucose found in the body and studying results in Latin American of free-trade coffee. But after the upset victory over the University of Virginia, the school will also be known for its basketball team.
“This school just showed we can be athletic as well,” Sean Brown, a 19-year-old sophomore and biology major, told The Baltimore Sun.
Junior Patrick Ogoh said no one gave UMBC a chance of beating Virginia.
“We’re known as the brainiacs of Maryland,” he said.
“We don’t even have a football team. Now we won? This is incredible.”
UMBC began in 1963, when the Maryland legislature authorized expansion of the University of Maryland system to include a new campus in Baltimore County.
More than five decades later, a small crowd gathered around the statute of the UMBC mascot to celebrate the basketball team’s improbable win.
“This is unreal. I’m still in disbelief that UMBC won,” said Nick Kelly, a UMBC economics professor. “It is the greatest upset moment of my life.”