For students and community members, the United Supermarket Arena was the place to be Wednesday night, crowds packed into the arena, bringing in one of the highest attendance numbers ever for a Texas Tech men’s basketball game. Those fans were rewarded with a third consecutive win by Texas Tech, who toppled the University of Oklahoma 65 to 63.
OU’s team was ranked third in the country, so Tech’s victory in their game against the Sooners has left Red Raider fans feeling very hopeful about the future.
“I hope we go to the NCAA tournament and I hope we do really well in that tournament,” said Texas Tech cheerleader Christopher Alleman. “I think we have a great opportunity now that we’ve beaten all these ranked teams.”
Alleman said the energy in the arena Wednesday night was the highest he’d ever seen it, he recalled how the crowd’s deafening cheers escalated with each back-and-forth play.
Lubbock area native Pedro Rodriguez attended the game as well and felt the same intense Red Raider spirit.
ome second half when all those plays started happening, the crowd erupted,” Rodriguez said. “It got overwhelming in there, it was overwhelming to me because I’d been to a couple of professional games but it’s not as fun as rooting for your local Texas Tech, hometown crowd.”
Rodriguez explained that athletic successes like these are an asset to the whole community, they help put Lubbock and Texas Tech on the map.
He also described the joy of rushing the court at the end of the game with a sea of other fans, he called the experience “a blur.”
Texas Tech junior Colby Forshee said that despite falling a few times, rushing the court was one of his most unforgettable college experiences.
Forshee said had faith that Tech would win against OU, and after this win he has faith they will continue to bring home more victories.
Andy Rowden, Texas Tech’s Assistant Athletic Director for fan engagement and promotions explained that the Athletic Department has high hopes for the rest of the basketball season as well.
“It’s an infectious feeling around the university, that we can not only compete with the highest level teams, we can beat them, we can beat them the right way,” Rowden said.
He explained that Tech’s recent wins over Baylor and Iowa State have given the Red Raiders even more reason to have confidence.
“For the university, it’s just another reason to be excited. When you look at what Coach Smith has done since he came to Lubbock three years ago, he’s growing the program the right way, in ways we can be proud of and we’re really starting to see,” Rowden said.
Rowden added that the increase in spectator support for men’s basketball has been a huge help in motivating the players and coaches.
“The student attendance [Wednesday] night was recorded at 5,840 students, which is a tremendous number, there are a lot of schools in the country that would be out and out jealous to have that,” he said.
Rowden explained that Tech reserved extra seats in the student section of the arena Wednesday night in anticipation of the overflow crowds.
With two home games left against TCU (Feb. 23) and Kansas State (March 5) Rowden is hoping that the fans continue to come in record numbers.
“We have two games left and if we can top the 5,840 number that would be great, and we’re prepared to handle that,” Rowden said.
Pedro Rodriguez agreed, he wants to see the fan-factor continue.