WVU Student Section Shows Up in Brawl Disappointment - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Student Section Shows Up in Brawl Disappointment

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia's basketball team makes no secret of the fact that it needs its student section to show up in great numbers and show support from start to finish of every home game.

That hasn't always been the case this season, but on Monday night the Mountaineer faithful skipped out on some homework to back WVU in the Backyard Brawl.

"It was a very exciting game. The crowd was into it, but it would have been better if we had won," says freshman guard Jabarie Hinds.

An obvious statement from Hinds regarding a student section that began lining up well before Monday even began, with reports of tents lining the sidewalk during the gymnastics meet on Sunday.

WVU Sports Marketing Director Matt Wells says 2,253 students were admitted into the Coliseum for the Mountaineers' game against Pittsburgh, far surpassing the capacity of 2,000.

The University's policy is to not turn away any students with a valid ID, so they set aside general public tickets for certain games that are expected to draw more than capacity numbers.

As loud as the students got at various times throughout the 72-66 loss to the Panthers, Wells says more attended the win over Cincinnati than Monday's Brawl.

With the Bearcats in town and the Orange Bowl champion football team honored at halftime, 2,290 students showed up for a Saturday afternoon game.

"Last night's crowd was a little more boisterous than the Cincinnati crowd, but the numbers were similar," says Wells.

An unwarranted technical foul called on Bob Huggins sent the student section into an uproar and at one point there were shades of the 2010 meeting between the two schools when Mountaineer faces threw various objects onto the court and toward the Pittsburgh bench.

Luckily this time it was only a lone yellow towel that made its way to the floor and aside from that, all of the energy coming from the crowd was perhaps just what the team needed at that point in the game.

"They're loud, they're all in unison, they do a great job," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas says of the Mountaineer students. "They're passionate about the game. I think the West Virginia student section is right up there with the best in the country. They stand the whole game, they're into it and I know what I'm talking about – real recognize real."

The team itself recognizes it, too. When Kevin Jones makes a big play, he frequently motions toward the students to celebrate with them. When he wants some noise heading into a big defensive sequence, he looks to the students to get the job done.

"We absolutely are a factor for the team," says Steve Staffileno, director of the Mountaineer Maniacs. "I've talked to a few of the guys and they tell us when the student section's there in full and going crazy that it really does motivate them, it makes them play harder and stronger and makes them make shots that they would normally miss. So it's really crucial that we get out here every game and do everything we can."

The Mountaineers would gladly say goodbye to the student section for good on Tuesday, Feb. 28 rather than return to host a few NIT games if they don't get out of their current slump.

The students have four more opportunities at home to help secure West Virginia's spot in the NCAA tournament instead.

WVU's student section is currently in the running for the Naismith Student Section of the Year Award, which fans can vote for by following this link.

Note: Be sure to stick to wvillustrated.com on Wednesday for a day-long National Signing Day Chat breaking down all the action and stay with us for live coverage of Head Coach Dana Holgorsen's signing day press conference at 3pm.

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