With each passing week, the Grand Canyon Antelopes are starting to pick up steam on the national stage.
This year alone, GCU has played the Duke Blue Devils, Louisville Cardinals, and beat the San Diego State Aztecs.
On Wednesday, they made yet another case to be taken seriously by the college basketball world by losing to the Arizona Wildcats by just ten points in Tucson.
And while the on-court product was impressive, the more startling thing that transpired inside McKale Center was the infiltration of purple and black.
“In my eight years, I’ve never seen the student section in McKale filled with the visitors,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said after the game. “They had a whole section, and you could hear them cheering. You can just tell that they have a great spirit about what they’re doing, and that’s to Grand Canyon’s credit.”
The Havocs, as the GCU student section is known, have built up a national reputation in a short amount of time, and they unleashed that on Arizona fans in McKale with constant “Let’s go Lopes’ chants that were getting picked up by the television mics. They also took over the usual “U of A” chant during a media timeout while the pep band was playing The Hey Song.
“I always hear the Havocs. They’re my guys,” GCU head coach Dan Majerle exclaimed. “We’ve got the best student section in all of the country. They travel well, and we’re lucky to have ‘em.”
“People are starting to understand what GCU’s all about.”
Granted, this was a “holiday” game for Arizona, meaning there was no formal ZonaZoo, and that means a lot more tickets were available to the public than normal. This allowed students in Phoenix to buy up those tickets.
But I’ve seen ASU roll into McKale over Winter Break before, and there was maybe half as much gold and maroon in the building compared to the amount of purple and black on Wednesday.
While it’s tough to definitively say who the second-best basketball program is in the state of Arizona, it’s easy to say that the ‘Lopes have taken over that rank in fan support. And it’s not close. ASU’s averaging 5,991 fans per home game. GCU, in an arena half the size of Wells Fargo, is drawing 6,947 per contest.
Welcome to the upper half of basketball fan support in the state Havocs.
One GCU fan caught the attention of everyone in the arena and on TV, and that was free throw screaming girl.
A GCU fan is screaming during every UA free-throw attempt. Wildcats have missed three straight, which only seems to encourage her.— Shane Dale (@ShaneDaleABC15) December 15, 2016
Watching the GCU basketball game on TV and hear a girl screaming everytime U of A takes a free throw @GCUHavocs— Rach (@wachelrang_) December 15, 2016
@GCU_Lopes The girl that is screaming during #UofA free throws is really annoying. @APlayersProgram @gcu #UofABasketball #LopesRising— Jeff Jackson (@eyedocjeff) December 15, 2016
I hope screaming fan at the Arizona/GCU game has to give a presentation tomorrow and fails because they have no voice.— Adam Green (@theAdamGreen) December 15, 2016
Every away @GCU_Hoops game there's always that psycho screaming banshee girl, why? Who let's her on the bus?— Thunder's Stepdad (@Intern_phil) December 15, 2016
It even led to Arizona girls screaming to match (?) her output...
Arizona girls now screaming when GCU shoots the ball - two wrongs dont make it right. That just doubles how annoying this game has been -__-— Kevin Cheng (@BullsOT) December 15, 2016