KENT, Ohio -- The dance may be over for the Kent State University basketball team, but the Golden Flashes returned to campus Saturday evening feeling like winners.
This season was only the sixth time in the school's history that the team has played in the NCAA tournament.
"It's amazing, you know, words can't express all the hard work that we've been through...it just feels good to see it all pay off and us get to the dance," said Kent State forward Jimmy Hall.
The Golden Flashes faced off against UCLA in Sacramento Friday night in round one of the NCAA basketball tournament. Kent State fell to the Bruins 97 to 80.
"It's everybody's dream to say they go dancin', you know...kind of disappointed about the loss, but you know, we went against a good UCLA team, you know, it was ranked in the nation, we gave them our best punch," said Kent State guard Deon Edwin.
"Disappointed that we lost, but the guys fought really hard, competed incredibly hard...we played a great team and we'll try to continue to grow from this as a program," said head coach Rob Senderoff.
Senderoff says even though the team did not pull off a win, just going to the Big Dance is a big deal for the team and Kent State.
"I hope it fuels the hunger of the guys returning and real proud of the entire group for what we accomplished this season," said the coach.
Deon Edwin and Jimmy Hall are both seniors. They say they are thrilled to end their college careers with a once in a lifetime experience.
"Every school should at least experience going to the NCAA because it's a wonderful experience, you know...words cannot explain how it is, you just gotta be there to just feel the atmosphere," said Edwin.
"Much props to UCLA ... they're a great team, I hope they win it all...yeah, but we knew we had to come out and fight, but it just wasn't enough, but we fought our hardest," said Hall.