Friday, September 21, 2007

More buzz around DC hoops

Excitement builds for Davidson season
Students snatch up tickets for high-profile games in Charlotte

DAVIDSON --The Davidson men's basketball team won't have its first official practice for another three weeks, but a buzz is already developing around campus.

That excitement showed last week, when tickets for games against North Carolina and Duke at Charlotte Bobcats Arena went on sale. Davidson plays North Carolina on Nov. 14 on ESPN, and Duke on Dec. 1 on ESPNU.

Students started showing up at 4 p.m. Sept. 11, more than 15 hours before the tickets went on sale.

The original allotment of 800 student tickets sold out in an hour Sept. 12, and the school took orders for 400 more.

That means Davidson sold more than 1,200 student tickets. The school only has 1,700 students on campus.

"The momentum of excitement has started so much earlier this year," Davidson athletic director Jim Murphy said. "We have a good television schedule, a lot of national exposure in magazines. It's an exciting time for people here. Everybody can puff their chest out a little bit, at least through the preseason."

Students pay $10 a ticket for games at the Bobcats Arena; regular tickets are $25. The line outside the ticket office became a small community in itself last week. Fans brought mattresses to sleep on overnight, reminiscent of the tents Duke students erect to camp out for tickets.

"Welcome to McKillopville," one sign said, referring to Davidson coach Bob McKillop.

McKillop, other Davidson coaches and a handful of players handed out doughnuts to fans waiting for tickets in appreciation for the students' dedication.

"That's as gratifying to me as when they sing `Sweet Caroline' (during games)," coach Bob McKillop said. "These students have always sent a consistent message of support. We know that when anyone at Davidson wins, whether it's the basketball team or an academic award, everyone here wins because we have such a sense of community."

Students do not have to line up to buy tickets for games at Belk Arena -- their tickets there are free. Murphy said the school might have capacity crowds for on-campus games for the first time. The arena can accommodate more than 5,700 fans.

Photo credit: Will Bryan

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