ALBANY, N.Y. – The Great Danes clinched the America East Championship on Saturday, something the Lady Danes did earlier this week as well.
Both teams are now heading to the big tournament, a fact that students are celebrating.
On Saturday night, the basketball team and two buses of students returned, carrying a lot of pride for the players and their school.
"It's fantastic. I know we were really nervous coming into this game, Stony Brook with the men but they really pulled it off. It was by far one of the best games I've seen them play all season," said UAlbany band member Alex Gallagher.
Gallagher was returning to campus around 7 p.m. and was still excited about the UAlbany men's team taking the America East Tournament for the second year in a row. He'd like to think his trumpet playing helped.
"The band tries really hard. We add new music every season and we keep trying to keep it fresh for the guys and they really appreciate it and we're glad that we can help them out in that way," he said.
The champions pulled into the Dutch Quad and Coach Will Brown eager to express his pride.
"Excited, tired a lot went into winning this tournament championship and you know I think our guys were like they've been for the past week to ten days. Very relaxed, loose and to be honest with you we are and we watched college basketball the whole ride home and it was a good ride home," said Brown.
Sophomore guard Peter Hooley was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player but he says the game wasn't just about him.
"It's incredible to know that we're creating something special around this city and we love playing for everybody not just our team the entire city and it's really special," said Hooley.
The Great Danes will learn their fate in the NCAA Tournament Sunday night at 6 p.m. Senior Guard DJ Evans says the team is ready.
"Yes it's special," explained Evans. "You got to just cherish the moment, very blessed and just got to take advantage and just be ready to play whatever team we play."
Some players said they're hoping for somewhere warm for the next game but they will be ready to play no matter what.