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Howard University’s early exit from the NCAA tournament Tuesday was not anything to celebrate in the Bison community. But junior Bryce Harris still managed to find a silver lining. 

Harris spoke to reporters after a 71-68 loss to Wagner in the First Four Tuesday night. He spoke highly of the team’s late surge in the final moments of the game despite falling short of a win. 

Howard's Bryce Harris celebrates

Howard’s Bryce Harris (34) reacts after being fouled during the first half of the team’s First Four game against Wagner in the NCAA Tournament Tuesday, March 19, 2024, in Dayton, Ohio.  (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

But when asked to reflect on the season as a whole and specifically the culture shift on the team, Harris spoke at length about his teammates in a moment that has since gone viral on social media. 

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“Just to reiterate, yeah it comes down to basketball, but it also comes down to having connections with who we are – not only as teammates but human beings,” he said. “Playing on a basketball team is one of the more beautiful things in life because it gives you a group of brothers who have a common goal, and it allows you to have a deeper connection past just being a teammate.

“What we speak a lot about is having brothers. You wanna have brothers. You’re gonna go through things with your brothers. You’re gonna have good moments. You’re gonna have bad moments. You’re gonna have moments where you’re mad at your brother, your brother is mad at you. But you guys have to go through the rocky mountain and get over it – especially to reach that common goal.” 

Bryce Harris team huddle

Bryce Harris (34) of the Howard Bison talks with teammates during the second half against the Wagner Seahawks in a First Four game during the NCAA Tournament at University of Dayton Arena March 19, 2024, in Dayton, Ohio.  (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

KANSAS MEN’S BASKETBALL DEALT SIGNIFICANT BLOW AHEAD OF NCAA TOURNAMENT

Howard won an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament last week after winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship for the second time in three seasons. 

Howard had one of its worst shooting performances in a first half this season, trailing by double digits entering the second. The Bison managed a late comeback, cutting Wagner’s lead to one with 17 seconds remaining. 

But three failed 3-point attempts in the last six seconds sealed their fate. 

Bryce Harris battles

Bryce Harris (34) and Seth Towns (31) of the Howard Bison battle against Melvin Council Jr. (11) of the Wagner Seahawks during the second half of a First Four game during the NCAA Tournament at University of Dayton Arena March 19, 2024, in Dayton, Ohio.  (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

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“That run is a testament to who we are and what we have been through all season,” Harris said. “This is a resilient group. What you saw tonight was no surprise to us. We look at ourselves as brothers, and brothers look out for each other in tough times.”

Harris, an All-MEAC first-team selection and the Bison’s leading scorer, finished Tuesday’s contest with 16 points. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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