By: Jordan Gold
Maryland’s basketball team lost for the fifth year in a row Wednesday in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge against No. 4 Virginia by a score of 76-71, but the crowd did not disappoint as a sellout crowd of 17,950 was recorded and the student section was deafening for the majority of the game.
Before the season started, head coach Mark Turgeon stressed the importance of getting students out to all games, not just the marquee matchups, because of the importance of this season. Not only is this one of the most talented teams Turgeon said he has had in a few years, but it is also the 100th season in program history.
After the game Wednesday, Turgeon credited the fans for being an integral part of the team’s second half comeback that came up just short in the end after being down 17 points at one point early in the second half.
“They were terrific. I just hope we have the same crowd on Saturday [against Penn State], that would really mean a lot us as a program,” Turgeon said.
Freshman guard Eric Ayala, who had 13 points and four rebounds in the game, was also very impressed with the impact that the crowd had on the game.
“It was beautiful to see. I’m thankful for the Maryland fans to come out and support us this way,” Ayala said after the game.
Maryland’s previous home games this season have not had nearly as many students in attendance as they did Wednesday, and that is due in part to the competition they had played prior to this game.
Evan Lubash, a junior american studies major and a self-described die hard Terps basketball fan, was pleased with how the crowd was a big factor in the game. He said he had been looking forward to this matchup for a long time to see how this young team would stack up against one of the nation’s best.
“I was blown away by how electric the atmosphere was tonight. It was one of the craziest sporting events I’ve ever been to. It’s a lot of fun to be apart of that kind of atmosphere. It makes the games way more fun,” Lubash said.
Lubash also said that he is looking forward to attending many more Terps games this season.
“Losing doesn’t have much of an impact on me going to games in the future. I consider us a basketball school and big game or not it’s always fun to go and support the team. We have a fun and exciting young team, they are always fun to watch so big game or not, I try to make it to every game I can,” Lubash said.
Andrew Cohen, a senior business major and a self-described huge sports fan, but not a big Terps fan, said he was really impressed with the team and his fellow students in the student section.
“I was extremely impressed with the atmosphere in the arena. The crowd was consistently loud throughout the game and only would have gotten better had we been winning,” Cohen said.
Cohen was so impressed with everything he saw last night that he said he plans on going to more games in the future. This is simply based off of how much fun he had last night and how well the team looked, even in a loss.
“Considering Maryland’s impressive performance and the raucous student section tonight, I would definitely be inclined to go to more games in the future. I think that this team has the potential to be very good and I’m excited to see the young guys develop throughout the season,” Cohen said.
The Terps will be back in action on Saturday as they take on Penn State in their first Big Ten matchup of the season at home in the Xfinity Center at 5 p.m.