Men’s hoops team seeks home court advantage

Armand Broady, Sports Editor

In the sport of basketball, having the proper game plan and executing well on both ends of the floor is paramount to winning a game. However, there is another factor that can affect the performance of the athletes and the outcome of a game: home court advantage. Home court advantage is that extra adrenaline players have when they know they are playing in front of a roaring, raucously supportive crowd.

The FMU men’s basketball team has been craving for support from other FMU athletes, students and faculty. So far, the team has gotten its wish.

Head Coach Gary Edwards said that when it comes to attendance at games in the Smith University Center (UC), things have been looking up.

“There’s been a good increase in fan attendance,” Edwards said. “We’re heading in the right direction.”

Compared to this point last season, attendance at FMU home games is up more than 60 percent.

Edwards said some of the credit for the increase in attendance goes to the high-paced offense he implemented this year.

“We changed our style to make it more exciting for our fans,” Edwards said. “We want to put a good product on the floor.”

The Patriots began the season scoring more points, shooting more three-pointers and playing a more up-tempo brand on both ends of the floor.

Junior management information systems major QuentonWilborn said that as an FMU student, he stands behind the team with great pride.

“I love basketball, and I support the team,” Wilborn said. “I’ll come to the games whether we win or lose because this is my school.”

Wilborn also said he thinks the new style of play has led to more faces in the stands.

“The new style is a big part,” he said. “It’s more exciting than it was before. Fans like more fast break points and three-pointers.”

Meanwhile, Edwards said that he has been suggesting ideas on how he can get even more attendance from the FMU faithful.

“They tried it a long time ago and it didn’t work, but I would like to see us have a pep band,” he said.

Edwards also said that he would like to see more contests and giveaways.

Another factor, according to the head man, has been the scheduling of big Peach Belt Conference games. Edwards said he hopes more conference games are scheduled when students are on campus. In a situation Edwards said “made no sense,” the Patriots hosted two important PBC games against division rivals USC Aiken and Augusta State during the Winter Break.

Wilborn proposed that the team hold more Riot at the Rim events, play more games during the week and make games more interactive with different activities taking place as the games are going on.

Edwards said that he and the team have been pleased to see increased attendance at the Smith University Center this year. He and hisclub look for much of the same as conference play continues in February against Lander University, North Georgia College and State University and Young Harris College on Homecoming.