Electrifying Crowds, Spirited Students Pack The Bob as the University of Delaware Closes Out Home Basketball Season
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell and Saquan Stimpson
NEWARK, Del. -- Backed by an electrifying overflow student section, the Bob Carpenter Center was the place to be on Sunday as spirited crowds packed The Bob to join the University of Delaware men’s and women’s basketball squads as they battled Colonial Athletic Association foes in their final home games of the season.
Over 7,500 fans packed the Bob Carpenter Center over the two games as part of the home-season finale doubleheader. A crowd of 2,485 cheered on the Blue Hen women in a hard-fought 68-64 setback to William & Mary in the opener while a sellout throng of 5,122 fans were on hand as the league-leading Blue Hens and rival Drexel battled to the end before the Dragons escaped with a 69-65 victory.
The crowd of 5,122 for the men’s game, which included nearly 1,000 students, was the largest of the season at the BCC and the eighth largest crowd in the 21-year history of the venue. The sellout crowd marked the highest attended home game for any of the nine Colonial Athletic Association schools this season and was the highest single game total at Delaware since the 2001-02 campaign.
"On behalf of our entire department, I want to give a big thank you to the Blue Hen fans that not only supported our teams yesterday but also throughout the year,” said UD Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Eric Ziady. “Yesterday showed what a great environment we can produce at The Bob when we're all working as one team. It also showed what great student involvement can mean to a first-class home court atmosphere. Our goal of CAA Championships hasn't changed, and we're all looking forward to exciting CAA Tournaments in the weeks ahead."
Among the dignitaries in the crowd were U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who attended a UD women’s game for the third straight year, U.S. Representative from Delaware John Carney, who served as the men’s Honorary Captain for the game, and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden. In addition, over 200 employees and guests of the UD Facilities Real Estate and Auxiliary Services were on hand as part of a special outing. Other groups attending the games were the Aberdeen Boys and Girls Club, the Vipers Traveling Baseball team, Heels and Hoops, and First State Orthopedics.
The contributions from the enthusiastic crowds were certainly noticed in a big way by members UD men’s and women’s basketball teams.
"I thought the atmosphere was simply electric,” said UD men’s head coach Monté Ross, whose team is currently 20-9 overall and stands atop the CAA standings with a 12-2 league mark with two road games at UNCW and College of Charleston remaining. “My only regret is that we didn't win to reward the fans for their tremendous support. My many thanks to all the fans and a special thank you to our jam-packed student section. You guys are the best!!”
“I would like to thank our fans for the great support and turnout yesterday,” said Delaware women’s head coach Tina Martin, whose team is 17-8 and currently ranks No. 2 in the CAA with a 9-5 mark heading into its final two regular season games at Hofstra and Northeastern. “My seniors and players know how special it is to play in front of great crowds. Our fans have been tremendous all year long and yesterday was outstanding. The fans have created an unbelievable atmosphere at the Bob Carpenter Center and are truly ‘The Sixth Man.’ Our staff and players are very appreciative of the support shown to us. Thank you Blue Hen Fans!”
Both Delaware teams combined to go 17-7 at The Bob this season with average attendance figures at 2,776 for the men and 2,126 for the women. The men, who averaged 4,766 fans over their final two home games, enjoyed their highest average season attendance since 2008-09. The Blue Hen women rank No. 2 in the CAA in average attendance and are one of only two teams in the league to average over 2,000 fans each of the past five seasons.
Colonial Athletic Association Tournament play, with the winner earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, gets underway in the coming weeks. The CAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 7-10 at the Baltimore Arena while the CAA Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held March 13-16 at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. The Delaware women are the two-time defending champions.