Elight Eight showdown draws over 7,000 to Ford Center

Published: Mar. 27, 2019 at 10:11 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - It was a rare occasion in downtown Evansville Wednesday.

University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball team took on West Texas A&M in tournament play.

Local fans showed out for USI’s home court advantage. Official game attendance recorded 7,330 people inside the Ford Center.

“It’s a beautiful day. It couldn’t get better than this," said one USI sophomore waiting in line for tickets.

The University gave away free tickets to the first 500 students prior to tip off.

“Its exciting to be here. We actually went to Chicago to see them play last week. It was so awesome to see how hyped the teammates are and the fans. It’s so radical honestly," a student raved.

It is an important time for the University given its new arena is slated to open next season.

“I wanna make some noise like President Rochon said," another student said. "We want to let people know that we’re supporting our teammates and our friends.”

Fans were standing in line outside the Ford Center for several hours, hoping to get a front row seat.

USI hasn’t had this much basketball hype since its last Elite Eight appearance in 2004.

The Screaming Eagles beat West Texas A&M, 94-84. The team advances to play the winner of Point Loma/Queens on Thursday.

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