Maryland coach Mark Turgeon tacked on an unexpected addendum to his postgame press conference Monday: A plea for more fan support.
The Terrapins drew 8,724 to its 67-45 defeat of Morehead State, the fifth-smallest crowd at Comcast Center since it opened in 2002. Of the four games with smaller crowds, two were postseason NIT games and two were part of a preseason tournament not included in the season ticket package.
Turgeon exhorted fans to show up for Friday’s game against Long Island.
“We need some students to come,” Turgeon said. “The game’s at 7 o’clock. The game’s at Friday night. We have a good product on the floor. We’re starting the game early so people can bring families and bring kids to the game. My kids don’t even come to an 8 o’clock game. I understand that. But we’re starting some games early this year so parents out there buy some tickets for young kids and we’ll start to put some more people in the seats. We’re going to play hard for you.”
What’s curious is Maryland dealt with attendance issues throughout last season, and Turgeon generally did nothing other than praise the crowds in College Park. Perhaps he was biting his tongue. Perhaps (and this is a bit likelier, given his remarks Monday) he wasn’t going to push the issue with a team destined for a 17-15 record.
This Maryland bunch is decidedly better, and it was a bit surprising to hear such a small crowd announced just a few days after a 72-69 loss to No. 3 Kentucky in the season opener. If ever there was a time for Turgeon to make a request for more support, this certainly trumps any other time in his brief tenure at Maryland.
SMALLEST ANNOUNCED CROWDS IN COMCAST CENTER HISTORY
(*-not part of season ticket package)
4,761: Manhattan, March 18, 2006 (NIT)
7,148: Hampton, Nov. 7, 2006*
7,318: Vermont, Nov. 8, 2006*
7,407: Oral Roberts, March 16, 2005 (NIT)
8,724: Morehead State, Nov. 12, 2012
9,875: Mount St. Mary’s, Dec. 7, 2011
9,979: Radford, Dec. 23, 2011
10,608: Texas Christian, March 26, 2005 (NIT)
11,395: Cornell, Jan. 3, 2012
11,679: Florida International, Dec. 14, 2011
11,689: NJIT, Dec. 22, 2010
11,751: Albany, Dec. 28, 2011
11,776: Georgia Tech, Jan. 15, 2012
—- Patrick Stevens