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View from the Student Section: Coppin State

Good seats were still available for this one!

Eastern Washington v Georgetown Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

If the Hoyas win a game and no one’s there to see it, does it still count as a win? Georgetown pulled off an easy blowout victory of the visiting Coppin State, winning 96-44 in front of a few dozen students and a few thousand total spectators. The Hoyas put the game away early with a 29-5 run in an eight-minute span and remained aggressive throughout, piling on the points until the final buzzer.

Rodney Pryor led the way in scoring, dropping an incredibly efficient 30 points in just 16 minutes on the court by shooting 10-13 from the field including a remarkable 7-8 rate from three-point range. L.J. Peak dished out a career-high 10 assists as well, as the Hoyas spread the love offensively and featured scoring output from every single scholarship player on the roster.

At times the play got a bit messy, but the Hoyas played an almost universally positive game. They avoided foul trouble, connected from behind the arc, and secured second-chance opportunities on offense by wrangling 21 offensive rebounds.

The crowd, meanwhile, remained impressively empty. It would surprise me if more than around two or three thousand people actually showed up. The student section had been surprisingly full when I came just after tip-off, although by full I mean that there were at least two or three rows filled. Not exactly stellar attendance by any means. As the game became a clear blowout, the student section crowd thinned to the first two rows. On the other side, apart from the band, it looked as though only the front row had fans.

In one moment at the end of the first half that illustrated the crowd’s emptiness well, a ball bounced out of bounds on a tip. As the Hoya Blue fans had left their front row seats to staff their table upstairs for halftime, the ball bounced on the first row of risers, and flew back at least three more rows.

Games like this one with such poor attendance, however, are a heckling fan’s dream. Whatever line you happen to think up can be heard clear across the arena (and presumably on the television broadcast.) With such a small group of people, it also becomes much easier to coordinate group actions and experiment with new tactics.

In the first half, when Coppin State shot free throws on the end where I was sitting, I decided to use the arena’s relative silence to our advantage. Instead of making noise as usual, I instructed the rest of the fans to shush until just before the free throw. As the shooter prepared to release, a few other fans and I unleashed a momentary sharp scream in an effort to startle the shooter. We attempted this for five free throws. Coppin State missed four of them.

Everybody had the chance to make their best lines heard, as even conversations in the next section over were audible at times. One of the “Hoya Hooligans” that help coordinate Hoya Blue’s efforts brought her A-game early on, so much so that one of the arena staff members had to tell her to cool it a bit. While her insistence that Coppin State forward Blake Simpson was a virgin carried early, it seemed that several lines about another player’s mother were too much. At another point in the game, a fan with a large cutout of Bradley Cooper held it up and shouted in an almost half-hearted manner, “Bradley Cooper didn’t go to Coppin State!”

I had quite a bit of fun with the arena echo myself. With the Hoyas extending their lead to 30, I broke the solitude between a couple of plays by shouting “Don’t let the crushing silence distract you from the fact that the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals!” In the second half, with the Hoya lead approaching 50, I delivered a line that likely hurt me more than it hurt them, consoling the losing Eagles. “It’s ok, Coppin State!” I shouted. “At least you’re winning the popular vote.” In hindsight, it’s still probably a bit too soon for that line.

At a late-game timeout, both sides of the student section could be heard chanting “We want George!” as the faithful wanted to see an appearance from freshman walk-on George Muresan. The crowd roared as both Muresan and fellow walk-on Ra’mond Hines took to the court. Neither one scored, but the crowd expressed its approval as Muresan registered a steal.

This definitely served as a much-needed release for the handful of Hoya fans optimistic or addicted enough to choose to watch the game from wire-to-wire. After the unexpected loss to Arkansas State and several rough losses in the Maui Invitational, Hoya fans could use an easy win.

Hoya Saxa! Beat Elon on Sunday!