I went home this past weekend for the Syracuse vs. UConn game at the Carrier Dome. I’m sure there are a lot of other teams’ fans who might disagree, but there is nothing quite like watching a game in the Dome. It routinely hosts the largest on-campus crowds in college basketball, and if you’re there for one of the 30,000+ games, you’ll understand why they’ve dubbed it the Loud House.
On Saturday, the Dome again set the record for this season’s largest on-campus crowd while hosting Uconn with 33,430 fans – also, the fourth largest crowd in Carrier Dome history. I’ve been at many of the attendance record setting games over the years and they are really something special. For years (probably a few too many) I sat in the nosebleeds after buying my $5 youth ticket. When I was in college my Dad and I got season tickets behind the hoop opposite the student section, and I would drive the two hours home from school to make the games.
The first record-setting game I remember being a part of was in 2005 against Notre Dame. The Syracuse Athletic Department actually announced a sell out – the first in history – with 33,199 in attendance. Walking into the Dome that day, every single door had a sign posted that read: Carrier Dome – Sold Out. It gave me chills. Syracuse struggled early that day, and it truly felt like the crowd willed them to victory in a 60-57 win as it got so loud in there I felt like a 747 jet was taking off above us.
Gerry McNamara’s senior day game was another special record breaker. No player has quite captured the hearts of Syracuse fans quite like G-Mac did, and I have to admit, I may have been one of the many girls in attendance holding a “Marry Me Gerry” poster. The ‘cuse lost 92-82 against Villanova that day, but the 33,633 in attendance were as loud as ever celebrating G-Mac’s career.
I missed out on the latest record-setting game in 2010, which still stands as the largest on-campus crowd in college hoops, also against Villanova. The Orange didn’t disappoint this time, beating the Wildcats 95-77 in front of 34,616 fans.a
While Saturday’s large crowd didn’t break the record, it was still a packed house. My Dad and I sat up in section 315 about five rows up and enjoyed every minute of it. The ‘cuse made it interesting as always allowing Uconn to within two with five minutes to play. After that they shut it down though, beating UConn by 18 with five walk-ons on the court to end the game. We were on our feet cheering on Melo’s blocks (and jumpers!), CJ Fair’s amazing dunk and watching Kris, Scoop and Dion do their thing. There’s no place like home!