Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Sixth Man

They Travel in Numbers

By: Peyton Spear

pwspear@go.olemiss.edu

Taylor Gosman on the left and Steven Sheperd on the right Photo by Christina Huck
Taylor Gosman on the left and Steven Sheperd on the right. Photo by Christina Huck

The scene outside of the Tad Smith Coliseum was not like any other.

Arriving four hours prior to tip-off against the Kentucky Wildcats, more than 1,000 students lined up outside the ‘Club Red’ (student section) door entrance anxiously waiting to get in.

Coming off a hard fought win on the road against Auburn, the Rebel hoopsters remained undefeated and in first place in conference play (6-0; 17-2 overall). Many students wanted a chance to witness the streak continue.

Senior Blake Biddy, who arrived at 4 p.m. himself for an 8 o’clock game, shared his thoughts on coming to the competition. “I love coming to the basketball games, so I wanted to be here early and support the team.”

The day before the game, Ole Miss Athletics sent out an email to students reminding them that the student section capacity was 1,500 and that security would cut off the line if students tried to exceed that amount.

Wait. Back up. Students received an email informing them about capacity and the plan of action that would occur when met? In recent years, Ole Miss Athletics would have never dreamed about composing a statement like that and clicking the “send” button on the computer.

Sure enough, the students came and the capacity was reached. All 1,500 students were wearing white t-shirts that had been given out before the game in support of a “white-out” ––  wherein the whole stadium is covered in white as an intimidation factor for opponents.

For those who were able to get into the game, word was spread quickly that some of their friends were turned away at the door and could not get in.

Photo by: Seph Anderson
Photo by: Seph Anderson

Taking a positive out of those students who had to watch the game on a television somewhere, it was very remarkable that ‘Club Red’ reached capacity to the point where students were begging to get a seat in the game. Or what was left of a seat.

Despite losing the game and receiving their first SEC loss of the season, the Rebel hoopsters look to bounce back as they take on a tough Florida team on the road next Saturday before heading back home and playing “that school” ––Mississippi State.

Arriving hours before a game might seem like too much to some people, but senior Justin Tillman hopes to see the student section filled once again when the Bulldogs come to town.

“We’re loud and have the best students section I have seen in years”, Tillman says.

It is as simple as that.

Hotty Toddy and Go Rebels!

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