KENNESAW, Ga. — For the first time ever, the Kennesaw State Owls are dancing in March.
The ascension of the Kennesaw State basketball program in 2023 has toppled the storylines of the college basketball landscape in Georgia this season. Now, it has culminated in the Owls punching their first-ever ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
They did so by winning the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Sunday afternoon with a win over the Liberty Flames by a final of 67-66.
Point guard Terrell Burden was fouled with 0.7 seconds remaining in the game. He stepped up to the free throw line and knocked down the first of two to give the Owls a one-point lead, which was all they needed to win in a dramatic finish.
11Alive's Maria Martin spoke exclusively with Kennesaw State head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim after the win. Abdur-Rahim led KSU to prominence in 2022-23 after posting a dreadful 1-28 record during his first season in the 2019-20 campaign.
The Owls broke an attendance record at the KSU Convocation Center on Sunday, selling 3,805 tickets.
The Owls dominated the A-Sun all season, going 15-3 in conference play and 25-8 overall. They were led by star guards Chris Youngblood (14.6 PPG) and Terrell Burden (13.3 PPG) -- both players leading the charge offensively.
The Owls were the 1-seed in the conference tournament and defeated Queens 67-66 and Libscomb 80-71 before beating Liberty in the championship game.
As of now, Kennesaw State projects to be a 15 seed in The Big Dance where they would take on 2-seed Baylor, according to Bracketology from ESPN's Joe Lunardi.