Silcox | Four straight wins for the Quakers, now it's the fans' turn
Will Penn's recent success bring out the crowd Saturday?
February 5, 2011, 4:27 am·
It’s been said many times, many ways that winning will bring the fans back to the Palestra.
So here we are, with a Big 5 win followed by three consecutive Ivy wins, including an absolute destruction of Dartmouth Friday night. That’s four straight, and yet the crowd at the Palestra for the Big Green blowout was just 3,124.
The players know that things are different from the bottomed-out team attitude — and attendance — they saw last year.
“We’ve won four in a row, and we’ve already seen the kind of buzz around campus, and we want to keep that going,” senior guard Tyler Bernardini said after the game. “We don’t want that to die down. We don’t want people wearing trash bags in the stands again. Keep the trash bags at home.”
So when does the attendance start to pick back up? If four straight isn’t enough, what’s the magic number? Bernardini and junior Zack Rosen aren’t quite sure. But their best guess: five.
“Tomorrow night — I hope,” Rosen said of Saturday’s showdown with Harvard.
By all accounts, the buzz on campus is that tomorrow night is the night. Much is on the line as Penn (9-8, 3-0 Ivy) plays Harvard (15-4, 4-1), which must face the Quakers after a tough loss to unbeaten Princeton in New Jersey Friday night. If the Quakers can win, they’ll remain in the hunt for the Ivy title. If they lose, the Tigers gain an upper hand in the league.
Saturday, UA President and College senior Matt Amalfitano sent a school-wide e-mail urging students to come to "the most pivotal game for Penn basketball in four years." Penn Hillel has organized a group of about 100 students to come out and cheer on the Red and Blue while hundreds have responded to the Facebook event for the game. And even The Daily Pennsylvanian’s opinion page editorialized Friday asking students to come out and support the team.
“The game — which will take place Saturday night at 7 p.m. — is the last time to watch the basketball team in action at home until the end of the month,” the DP’s opinion board wrote. “So show up, get loud and go Quakers!”
The players know that wins, losses, Facebook fans, real fans and editorials aside, they have one job: to win.
“We can’t control it,” Bernardini added in a little post-game exchange with Rosen.
“If fans want to come out, we’re waiting for it,” Rosen said, agreeing with his teammate.
But in many ways, the Quakers can control it. A win before a big crowd Saturday will keep the seats filled when Penn returns later in the month from its upcoming two week road trip.
“We’re gonna control what we can control on the court," Rosen said. “We can’t go to someone’s dorm room and drag them — well, we could, but we have to warm up.”
A little forceful tugging from the win column never hurt.
CALDER SILCOX is a junior science, technology and society major from Washington, D.C., and is Senior Sports Editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. His e-mail address is silcox@theDP.com.