Feb. 6, 2013
By Jillian Bertolucci
By Jillian Bertolucci
FRESNO, Calif. --- Students began lining up over an hour and a half before tipoff of Wednesday's men's basketball game to snag various free giveaways and ensure their spot in the student section. The Bulldogs took on UNLV for Greek and Student Appreciation Night and Fresno State did not disappoint as the 'Dogs pulled off a 64-55 upset over the Runnin' Rebels.
Upon entering, students received Fresno State iPhone covers, foam fingers, a raffle ticket for a chance to win an iPad Mini and an invitation to the student tailgate. The first 200 sorority and fraternity members received the highly sought after "Proud to Be a Greek Bulldog" tank top, which cannot be purchased anywhere.
Upstairs at the tailgate, over 300 students received free pizza and sodas. Red and Blue beads and "Go Dogs" buttons were passed out. Students played a Bulldog basketball team player matching game and had the opportunity to get their faces painted.
Tamar Karkazian, Student Director for USU Productions, helped planned the pregame event. She was impressed with the turnout.
"We were trying to help get attendance up at the basketball game, as well as trying to improve school spirit," she said. "People seem to really be enjoying themselves."
For many students, the incentives were the extra push to come to the game.
"I came to show some school pride, I really enjoy watching basketball, and the free stuff kind of was the extra reason to come out, support the team and eat delicious pizza," said student Nick Sampson.
Greek members said they were excited for the tank tops and the chance to mingle with fellow students. Members of the basketball team visited the sorority and fraternity houses Monday night and encouraged members to come to Wednesday's game.
"I just wanted to come support my Bulldog basketball team and hang out with fellow Greek members and get to know more people," said student Hayden Souza.
Wednesday was Souza's first game of the season. He plans to attend more games in the future.
"They gave us some incentives, and it worked," he said.
Student Emily Henderson came early to guarantee "her" specific seat.
"I always sit in the same seat every single game," she said. "It's the seat on the end behind the hoop on our side."
Henderson has been to most of the games this season. Last year, she did not miss a single home game and was crowned "Craziest Fan." Her prize was an iPad.
She hopes all students come to support.
"They should come because our team tends to perform a little bit better when they see that their students are there backing them up," she said.
Sean Rooney agrees.
"They definitely play a lot better," he said. "The more students, the better we do."
Rooney sits front row every single game with his Fresno State Flag as a cape and his face painted.
"I love Fresno State, love the atmosphere, love basketball, and I just gotta be the number one fan," he said.
Wednesday's game saw the largest student section of the season. It was a sea of red foam fingers and homemade signs. The crowd was on its feet most of the game, leading the Save Mart Center in chants.
"The energy in the room felt like the Selland Arena days," Sampson said. "That's what keeps me motivated and brings me back to these games."
The team fed off of the energy of the crowd and delivered the big Mountain West win to close out the first half of conference play.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" --- Tickets for the Bulldogs' three remaining home games can be purchased by calling 559-278-DOGS (Monday-Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.) or visiting www.gobulldogs.com.
|Email this article||Printer-friendly format|