The Washington Times - November 19, 2008, 10:21AM

I stuck around for Gary Williams‘ postgame radio address to the remnants of crowd that probably filled a little more than half of Comcast Center last night.

It was glaringly obvious how empty the place would be when I drove through campus from the football team house to the arena about 40 minutes before tip without too much trouble. That could have been a 20-minute drive on some game nights. It was a little less than half that this time around.


Williams noticed the diminished crowd, too. Neither of Maryland’s first two games have been listed as a sellout, the first time the Terps haven’t had a regular-season game inthe season ticket package fully booked since the famous snow game against Wake Forest in 2003.

(This excludes NIT games, as well as the two Coaches vs. Cancer Classic games in 2006 that were not grouped in with season tickets).

Gary addressed this little matter at the close of his comments to fans.

“If you know someone who isn’t coming … if you would tell them to give them to someone, I’d appreciate it,” Williams said.

The … in the middle was something along the lines of (though not precisely) “because they don’t think a game against Youngstown State is a big deal,” so Williams has at least caustically acknowledged opponent has something to do with this.

And while Maryland isn’t in terrible straits – a lot of schools would take an announced crowd and the money that comes with it of 17,188 in a 17,950-seat arena (good for 95.8 percent capacity) – the 18-20 home dates the Terps have every season tend to pay for quite a bit around the athletic department.

It shouldn’t be a source of worry just yet. But for the first time in a long while, Maryland’s basketball attendance figures bear monitoring.

Patrick Stevens