by Tommy Sletten, Athletic Communications Student Assistant
With a sellout crowd of 14,625 Wednesday night, Williams Arena had a type of energy that the Barn had not seen this season.
From the opening tipoff to each point the Gophers scored, the fans were like fireworks; vibrant, loud and explosive.
Games at the Barn with this type of environment are usually late-season Big Ten matchups; games with serious NCAA Tournament implications and rivalry games against teams like Wisconsin and Michigan.
But, this game was something different. With Minnesota ranked No.12, they played their first non-conference home game versus a nationally-ranked opponent in 19 years, No. 10 Miami, giving every fan something to be excited about, and a moment in the national spotlight.
Amir Coffey led the charge for Minnesota, electrifying the crowd with his game-high 23 points.
“I was looking around and didn’t see any empty seats tonight. So that was pretty cool. It got pretty loud in here” the sophomore guard explained.
Coffey continued by saying that the best crowd he’d seen at the Barn was that night, and he was thankful for the crowd coming out to support the team.
Hours before the game, the Barnyard had been filled, with the student ticket line stretching down University Ave., filled with students dressed head to toe in gold, buzzing to enter the historic arena.
While Minnesota lost to No. 10 Miami 86-81 in a contest that went down to the wire, the energy from the fanbase was apparent, and special to be a part of.
“Terrific crowd, it’s always disappointing when you don’t win with an environment like that, that was one of the best I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” head coach Richard Pitino said. “It was greatly appreciated. It felt like another February game and it’s not even Dec. 1.”
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