Assistant Sports Editor
There is something about being at home. It has a smell to it, one that others can smell but you never can, it is something you have become used to. Something you are so comfortable with that you do not even recognize it. Whether it is the constant presence of the Crayon man and the rest of the Pride faithful in the bleachers, or maybe it’s just some Birthplace magic, Pride men’s basketball has felt fairly comfortable at home in Blake Arena this season.
Springfield boasts a 8-4 record at home so far this season. Junior captain Ben Diamond attributes that to the fans that have been bringing the cheers and chants throughout the season.
“Ever since the Amherst game our fans have been awesome,” he said. “They have been coming out in droves and supporting us, it makes a big difference. During intersession we had to play in front of almost no one, just friends and family. We play this game to have a good time, and the crowd definitely feeds into that.”
The Prides win against then-ranked No. 1 Amherst College on Dec. 14 had undoubtedly the biggest turnout for any basketball game played at Blake Arena so far this season. The crowd slowly grew by the minute as patrons called and texted their friends to tell them to run over to the Arena and witness history. After that electrifying win, the crowds have been coming to watch ever since.
“We feel comfortable at home,” said sophomore guard Stanley Davis. “Something about the crowd and our families being there makes us play a little better.”
Playing well at your house is always a good thing. However, to reach the next level of success, you also have to get the job done on the road.
The Pride are currently 2-7 on the road. With two out of the last three regular season games taking place in gyms not named Blake Arena. With the NEWMAC conference race getting tighter and tighter, the team is going to have to figure out how to turn their lackluster road performances into resounding wins.
Diamond acknowledged the youth of the team and the process of traveling to away games have played a part in the team’s trouble to find success on the road.
“With a young team, people are still getting into a routine,” said Diamond. “You have your gameday rituals, like whether or not you get food before the game or if you put shots up a few hours before the game. I think you can get in more of a routine at home, and when you are on the road you can hit traffic, fall asleep on the bus, then get woken up as you’re pulling up to the gym.”
He also explained that these things should not be used as a copout. As the team gets more experience on the road, the better they will play.
“There are really no excuses, we are just not comfortable yet playing on the road. Sometimes it is our first time playing in a certain gym, but I think with more experience those types of a things will play less of a factor.”
The Pride have had their ecstatic highs and their head-hanging lows this season, but the squad has shown that they have what it takes to string wins together, and that is just what they will have to do to obtain optimal seeding in the NEWMAC tournament in a few weeks.