Crowds at sporting events have the opportunity to affect the outcome of the game. This isn’t always the case. And it hasn’t always been the case at UConn basketball games, but on Saturday the crowd at Gampel Pavilion made a difference. A BIG DIFFERENCE! The Crowd at the UConn vs Texas game may have been the best Gampel Crowd ever.
People who have covered, been around, or been apart of UConn basketball for many years, including the two championship seasons(1999,2004), agree that they have never heard Gampel as loud as it was on Saturday. Mike Anthony, who covers UConn Men’s Basketball for the Hartford Courant, had this to say about noise during the game:
“I have covered UConn since the start of the 2005-06 season and have attended every game over the last five seasons. I have never heard a building get louder than Gampel Pavilion was Saturday. As UConn made its second-half charge, my ears were literally ringing. George Blaney told the Huskies after the game that they should thank the fans, particularly the students. … Look, Gampel has rocked before. But in my mind, not quite like this. The Huskies needed a win, need a response. The crowd needed to help and, man, did it ever.”
The UConn players agree. They realized how energetic the crowd was, and they responded. “The fans, I’ve never seen them like that before in my four years here,” senior Jerome Dyson said. “They really helped us. … The crowd is what got us into it. Once we started making a big play here, a big play there, and the crowd got going, the energy just went through us. And we kept it going.”
I was apart of the student section on Saturday, and from my point of view, I have never been apart of a louder, more energetic, or more enthusiastic student section the one at Gampel on Saturday. Students began camping out early Friday morning in anticipation for the game. I got in line around 9:00 am on Saturday with a group of friends(shout-out to all of ya’ll) and as we waited we were lucky enough to be apart of the crowd who got to go in a watch the UConn shoot around. At the shoot around, George Blaney spoke to the students and was complementary of the UConn faithful.
“The team asked me the other day, how they were going to be able to handle Texas,” said Blaney. “But, I asked them, ‘How is Texas going to handle Gampel?’”
The student section was amazing, and they brought the arena to life. The rest of the crowd joined in with the students and created a real home-court advantage for the Huskies. All of the Husky fans joined in and bonded together to create an atmosphere that will be hard to duplicate. So many people played a role in the atmosphere. The Pink Hat Kid, Big Red, the alumni and donors, and everyone else in attendance were apart of the greatest Gampel crowd ever, and just possibly the best home-court crowd in the nation this season. Yes, that is my opinion, but many others agree with me, including ESPN College Basketball Analyst Andy Katz, who was in attendance for the game.
“Gampel Pavilion was the loudest arena I’ve heard all year, and maybe the loudest I’ve heard in the last few years,” said Katz.
The crowd got repaid for their hard work during the game, as they were allowed to rush the court after the Huskies defeated Texas, 88-74. It was a great moment for the University of Connecticut, with a national television audience watching.
Being apart of the crowd and witnessing such a big win, was easily one of the best moments of my UConn career, and is something I’ll always remember.
SO DO YOU AGREE WITH ME? VOTE… And if you were at the game, share your favorite moment!