ORLANDO, Fla. – UAlbany might have lost the game against the University of Florida but nobody expected them to be nearly as competitive as they were against the overall number one seed except for themselves and their fans, and there are no greater fans than their parents.
The players' parents got together at Draft after the game for a celebration.
The first thing Catherine Rowley wanted to tell her sons after the game was ‘well done.' She and her husband, Gregg, flew from Australia to support their two sons and teammates Sam and Michael.
“Catherine and I looked at each other, and we said ‘We've got to go,' Gregg said. “It was on a whim. Didn't know where we were going, but we knew we had to get to the United States.”
From Dayton, Ohio to Orlando, the Rowleys watched their two sons win their first NCAA Tournament game and give the best team in the country the fight for their life.
“Makes me very proud. I get a little choked up about it,” Gregg said. “They just hung in there. It was true grit. All the boys did, and that's one of the big things they'll take away from this: character building, never give up.”
“I just wanted them to put on a good show,” Catherin said. “I wasn't worried about whether they would win or lose. That wasn't the issue but to be proud about how they played, and I think that they were very proud about how they played.”
That sentiment was echoed by player John Puk's mother Donna.
“When he realized it was all coming to an end – his career – I could see the emotion in his face and that made me proud and happy and a little sad, too, cause I know he hates to see it come to an end, but it's one of those things,” she said. “All good things come to an end.”
“And as I said to them, ‘You guys have played the best in the world,' Gregg said. “And that's something nobody can take away from them.”