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By Cindi Schmalz (February 15, 2007)

School Spirit Packs the Stands for Big Purple Growl

Hilary Lin, a sophomore, and Sarah Su, a junior.

Hilary Lin, a sophomore, and Sarah Su, a junior. (Photo by Fred Doyle)

This year's Big Purple Growl, held Feb. 3 at the SEFCU Arena, lived up to its new reputation of being one of the most exciting sports events in the Capital Region.

The game was thrilling, with constant chants and screams of support for the University at Albany men's basketball team.

Fans on one side of the court yelled, "U," as the other side shouted back, "A." The momentum continued to build, minute by minute.

The Great Danes were winning most of the game, but in the middle of the final period the Bearcats pulled ahead. The men's team regained its composure and took the lead. The crowd continued its wild, supportive chants. Anxiety was mounting, as there were only a few minutes left on the clock and Binghamton was closing the score gap. The Bearcats played well, but the Great Danes won, 65-62.

Michael Lynch, a junior, and Marc Pallozzi, a junior.

Michael Lynch, a junior, and Marc Pallozzi, a junior. (Photo by Fred Doyle)

The spirit was contagious, as the event marked the 10th anniversary of the Big Purple Growl. Many enjoyed the pre-game Ferocious Feast, where an assortment of food was available. The Hall of Fame room was showered in purple and gold decorations and balloons. Alumni showed their support for their alma mater by dressing their families in Great Danes apparel. Entertainment included an Earth Tones performance, a cheerleading cheer, a Puppy Pound, and clowns. Student volunteers painted faces and helped children decorate dog-bone-shaped cookies. Volunteers Hilary Lin, a sophomore, said, "We're here for community service for our sorority," while Sarah Su, a junior, said, "We come out every year to support the school."

Senior Matt Giaquinto.

Senior Matt Giaquinto. (Photo by Fred Doyle)

The first 1,000 students received free admission to the basketball games and a Big Purple Growl T-shirt. The double header sold out its second year in a row, with 4,528 in attendance. The women's basketball game had a moderate-sized crowd, but plenty of support. Cheerleading and music from the Pep Band entertained the crowd during time outs. The Great Danes were defeated by the Bearcats, 70-60.

Many students took this chance to dress crazily for the game. Two students stood out in the sea of purple because they were dressed in gold from head to toe, including big, frizzy, yellow wigs. Matt Giaquinto, a senior, dressed in purple with a purple cape and top hot said, "I'm a big fan. Me and my buddies come out for every game at home to show our support." Giaquinto blended in well with most of the students. Michael Lynch and Marc Pallozzi, juniors, made signs to show their support for the Great Danes and their dislike for the Bearcats. Pallozzi summed up the enthusiasm for UAlbany basketball, saying, "We come to every home game."

Editor's Note: Cindi Schmalz, a UAlbany senior, is an intern in the Office of Media and Marketing.


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