Miami’s hot early season run continued Tuesday night against No. 24 Illinois, and the BankUnited Center (BUC) was packed to see it.
Spurred on by a school-record 2,003 students, the No. 15 Hurricanes improved to 8-0 on the season with a 70-61 win.
The student section, usually not filled for December games, was nearly packed an hour before game time, with students donning orange Santa hats and the giveaway of the game: tacky Christmas T-shirts. The 2,003 students broke the previous record by nearly 300 students – 1,734 turned out for the matchup with Florida State.
The increased number was made possible by the addition of student seating on the baseline opposite the original student section.
After the game, CanesAllAccess posted a video on YouTube of Coach Jim Larrañaga thanking the fans, which quickly received over 30,000 views. Optimism is high around Coral Gables – the No. 15 ranking is the highest Miami has ever been this early in the season.
“It definitely felt like a basketball school,” guard Sheldon McClellan said post-game, after notching 14 points in the victory. “It was a big boost for us.”
Miami hopes to carry the momentum and fan support into the weekend as the Canes take on Wisconsin-Green Bay.
The Phoenix is no team to overlook – it was the preseason favorite in the Horizon League and holds the top rating percentage index in the country, while Miami is third in that category.
And if Miami can keep winning, more records are sure to break come ACC play.