Basketball success resonates
by Staff Writer
Davidson College Men’s Basketball beat 12th-ranked Kansas 80-74 Dec. 19, grabbing national headlines for upsetting a powerhouse.
The Wildcats’ first win over a nationally ranked team since 2008 is bringing back memories off the court, too, of that record season.
Stephen Curry led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in the NCAA basketball championships in 2008.
Curry left Davidson in his junior year for the NBA, joining the Golden State Warriors. He returned to classes during the professional basketball lockout this fall and may have let a bit of his knack for winning rub off on the 2011-12 squad.
The Wildcats are 8-4 so far this season, and the Dec. 19 game may be the spark to send them into another powerful run, sweeping the campus and fans across the country along for another exciting ride.
The excitement surrounding the basketball program isn’t just good for the college and fanbase, but also bodes well for the town’s apparel stores.
The phone started ringing at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning at ’Cats on Main, the college’s Main Street spirit store, employee Jill Lazarus said.
“They hadn’t even been done playing 24 hours and somebody called hoping we would print a Davidson-beats-Kansas T-shirt,” ’Cats on Main employee Amy Powell said Thursday. “We had a very good day yesterday.”
Campus bookstore manager Gwyn Gardner said more people attend home games when the team is doing well, driving up game-day sales.
“We can definitely see a difference when the team is doing well,” Gardner said.
So far, Gardner said, it is too early in the season to see a substantial difference in sales, but this could be the beginning of a very strong season.
“It brings back memories for all of us. In 2008, the campus was really excited … People are looking for that again,” Gardner said. “The game (Dec. 19) might just be the fire to propel them forward.”
Athletic success drives more than apparel sales. Along with a large increase in sales in 2008, Gardner said she also heard from future students that the national attention drew them to Davidson.
“It’s a really great way to spread the word that athletics and education can really work together,” Gardner said.
After beating Kansas, Gardner expects the Wildcat’s home game against Penn State to sell out.
“Attendance always goes up after a big win,” Gardner said.
But even with an average record, college stores see athletics, from basketball to baseball, soccer, tennis and golf driving attendance, spirit and sales.
“Every time we have a big game at home, sales increase here late in the afternoon,” Powell said of ’Cats on Main, supporters’ last stop on the way to the Belk Arena.