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WANTED: A packed student section
The TD Bank Sports Center’s basketball arena experienced something Saturday afternoon it hasn’t experienced since it opened its doors three years ago. For the first time, the arena looked – and sounded like – it was hosting a Division I college basketball game. The arena finally had a college atmosphere.
“It was awesome,” head coach Tom Moore said. “That’s the first game in my two and a half years that I could feel it. Our students were awesome. Just awesome. There were more of them and when we needed to get some stops – at the 10-minute mark, the eight-minute mark, the seven-minute mark – a couple times, Jeremy Baker and Feldeine encouraged them and they were right on top of it. They were fantastic.”
This team wants fans to be there; they want to have a loud student section, they know and understand the importance of having fans there, and they appreciate everyone who cheers them on.
“That’s the first time since I’ve been a coach here that I felt we had a home-court advantage that you could feel: a real home-court advantage,” Moore said. “They were fantastic. I hope and pray they keep coming back because it really means a lot to our kids. They helped us get over the hump on a lot of defensive trips in the second half.”
But most importantly, this team deserves better. While most students at QU had been sitting in their dorm rooms, or taking part in other activities on Thursday nights or Saturday afternoons, this team has been having an amazing season.
“We had the best start in 30 years after 20 games (at the Division I level) and all these quirky things you see in the notes, so we are doing some things that haven’t been done before,” Moore said.
After Saturday’s thrilling victory over in-state rival Sacred Heart, the team is now 9-0 at home on the season. As the team is currently in second place in the Northeast Conference, there’s been a lot of chatter of the team hosting a few playoff games at home this season.
“I would love to let the student population and the community at Quinnipiac experience what it’s like, at this level of a league, to host a conference semifinal game or a conference championship game some day,” Moore said.
That day could be this year, and the students need to wake up and realize that something special could be in the making. Hosting a conference playoff game is something none of the current classes have been able to experience since arriving at Quinnipiac. But being able to play at home for the playoffs is only a treat when the fans actually show up and make some noise.
“I want it for our kids because I want them to have the comfort of playing at TD Bank in the biggest games of the year,” Moore said. “I also want it for Quinnipiac because I want to see our students get there, get excited and enjoy home wins that mean something.”
Senior forward James Feldeine also knows how important the crowd is. At Saturday’s game against Sacred Heart, he was finally able to wave his arms and get the crowd going at a basketball game. He knows how crucial it would be to host the conference tournament games, and play in front of a packed student section.
“It’s real important, that’s all we’re talking about right now,” Feldeine said. “We’re trying to prepare to play at least two games at home (during the playoffs). If we play at home we’re finally going to get students to come to the game. We’re undefeated at home and we play real tough at home.”
The Bobcats have only three home games left before the playoffs begin. Hopefully, the students can come out again and show some support just as they did on Saturday. Saturday’s crowd of more than 2,700 was the largest crowd of the season.
“I sense more spirit,” Moore said. “Our athletic director Jack McDonald does a great job of trying to increase attendance. I think if we win and stay at the top of the standings, and when the games become more important, I’m sensing more spirit and more people there.”
From now on, every game will be important. Whether it’s one of the three regular season home games, or a playoff game, the team can certainly use our help.
The past two home games, Moore and his players have come over to the student section after the game and thanked the fans for cheering them on. They really do appreciate the support.
“I just hope [the fans] enjoy themselves, and have some pride in watching us win, and hopefully come back,” Moore said.
It’s time for everyone to support this team. The players have been winning games and have shown their appreciation – now it’s time for us to show ours.