GREENSBORO, N.C. — Kennesaw State's incredible and inspiring 2023 season came to an end Friday, as they couldn't overcome three-seeded Xavier.
It was a valiant effort from the No. 14 seed Owls, who led the Musketeers 61-48 with under 10 minutes remaining in the game before Xavier exploded on a 15-0 run in a nearly seven minute span of game time. The Owls would eventually fall by a final of 72-67.
Owls head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim was emotional in the post game press conference, but went on to say it was because of how proud he was of his team.
The reaction stemmed from a question regarding whether Abdur-Rahim thought this tournament showing was the beginning of something big in Kennesaw.
"That's a great question and with all due respect, the beginning was four years ago," Abdur-Rahim said fighting back tears. "These are tears of joy man because we made a commitment to this university, we made a commitment to these guys sitting next to me that we were going to show up every day for."
He expanded on how important his players and this team are to him and how they stayed throughout the years to ultimately see their hard work pay off, despite a one-win season just four years ago.
"These are tears of joy because it takes a special group of people to commit to something and stay to see that vision through," Abdur-Rahim said. "So, the beginning was four years ago, but you better believe this is our standard, this is our expectation."
Abdur-Rahim ended it poignantly: "We will be back."