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Crowd shows up for winning streak

Published: Monday, January 31, 2005

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

And oh.

That's your reason right there. The question? Why are people showing up now for men's basketball?

A record of 18-0 will do that to you. SportsCenter highlights will do it. Appearances on I, Max help. Press coverage by Andy Katz and other national media writers will do it. Spotlights in Sports Illustrated, too. How about extra coverage by NESN, The Boston Globe, and Boston Herald? Surely it helps.

But it all comes down to one thing: the streak, the winning. Without it, none of the attention would be here. Even now, with the winning taking place, there are students who have not picked up their season tickets. No nationally televised games on CBS or ESPN yet this season either. Not until the Eagles take on Notre Dame next Tuesday will Boston College be on ESPN2.

But for those who made it to Conte Forum on Saturday night, the atmosphere has changed. Pardon those among you if they thought they were somewhere else. Like, say Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke.

"This is college basketball," said Jermaine Watson. "I can't remember Conte being like that. We've never had that before. It made me feel like it was Cameron. It was great."

Constant noise came from the student sections. Chants targeted at the Hoya faithful in attendance included "Georgetown football," "What's a Hoya?" and "Un-de-feat-ed!" Georgetown possessions were cues to drown out the opposing team's ability to communicate. And for a young Georgetown squad looking to keep its composure, the BC fans only got louder in the first half when head coach John Thompson III called timeouts.

Gone are the days when BC was worrying about filling the stands. Ever since the move to the ACC was made official, BC personnel have been trying to find the best fit for the student sections in an arena that is made for hockey, not basketball.

But Saturday night provided the answer: just win.

The rest of the home games are sold out. Questions these days are more likely to be heard from the scalpers outside Conte's steps and sidewalks: "Got a ticket? Need a ticket? Just looking for one? Need two together? Tickets, need tickets? Just one?"

Whether you have a ticket already or you are still in search of one on game night these days, odds are you're going to have to plan a little in advance.

While in recent years, basketball tickets at BC have been pretty easy to come across, this year is different. It's the hottest ticket in town. The Celtics are swooning. The Bruins are striking. And the college hockey stars play on a different night.

The walk into Conte Forum has been a pretty straight forward one in past years. Students go in with their IDs and tickets ready. Alumni and Boston area supporters go through the turnstiles.

Opposing fans take the seats allotted to them in the upper left corner behind the opposing bench, but now things are changing a little. How so? Well, there's just more of everything it seems.

"It's nice for people to be excited about basketball at BC. A lot of people didn't think there would ever be this type of excitement here, at least during my tenure," said Skinner.

Thus, what you have right now is a BC basketball team demanding the attention of the greater Boston area as well as the nation, and you know what? The fans are coming out.

So goes the presently ebullient state that has taken over the mindset of BC fans. In recent years, the attendance of sporting events has been a sore spot for the athletics department.

Sub par attendance by students and lack of all-out enthusiasm has brought them to consider alternate plans for arranging student sections and spreading the word. Not the case these days, though.

Fans are showing up. Tickets are being scalped. Students are finally getting loud. Next up? West Virginia tomorrow. Where? A sold-out Conte. Take a minute to let that sink in.

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