Something special is happening with UMass Lowell men’s basketball

LOWELL — Lines zigzagged out the double doors at the Costello Athletic Center Sunday as exuberant fans congregated to watch UMass Lowell host Bryant in men’s

basketball. Before long, the River Hawks athletic department displayed a “SOLD OUT” sign on the glass outside, as fans inside overflowed into standing-room sections. The pep

band gleefully played staples from “Call Me Maybe” to the Pokémon theme song “Gotta Catch ‘Em All.” This was UMass Lowell’s first-ever Division 1 sellout at the Center, and

it gave the 850-plus in attendance a show. The River Hawks hung 57 first-half points on Bryant en route to a 98-79 win. “It means the world to us,” said graduate-student

guard Everette Hammond. “We’ve been a very good team at home, and we want to keep selling out. They give us energy, and we feed off that. We want to keep bringing people into

Costello.” The River Hawks (17-4, 5-2 America East) couldn’t quite crack 100, but fans didn’t seem to mind. It’s still January, and UMass Lowell has already clinched its

first winning season since transitioning to Division 1 in 2013. It is in the hunt for its first D1 league title and first trip to March Madness. It is not a mid-major a top seed

should want to see in the first round. UMass Lowell is 11-0 at home for the first time and has already beaten UMass, Boston University, Vermont, UMBC, and other tough teams.

After finishing 11-12 in 2021 and 15-16 in 2022, it is exceeding outside expectations. Internally, though, it is right on schedule. “Honestly, I’m not surprised,” graduate

student Mikey Watkins said. “We came in here in the summer expecting to win, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We have great chemistry.”