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Larger Crowd Provides Boost to Red Flash Hoops Team

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Saint Francis has not drawn large crowds to basketball games in recent years. On Feb. 9, however, it was a different environment at DeGol Arena for the Red Flash men’s Northeast Conference game against Wagner.

The Red Flash forced overtime against the Seahawks, but were unable to secure the win, falling 76-74.

Perhaps the most impressive story line from the game was the number of people that showed up to support the home team.

More than 1,100 fans attended, including a large student turnout that gave the game a playoff feel. The game was a “Red Out”—all fans were encouraged to wear red to show their support for the Red Flash.

The crowd size was comparable to those of the early 1990s, the most recent “glory days” of Red Flash men’s basketball.

On Dec. 1, 1990, Pitt visited Saint Francis and the Stokes Center was packed for the game against the Panthers. Saint Francis led, 47-39 at the half, only to see Pitt point guard and current Arizona head coach Sean Miller sink five three-pointers for the Panthers in a come-from-behind win.

“He was a great player, and he really went off that game,” said Pat Farabaugh of Miller’s performance in Loretto in December of 1990. Farabaugh is an associate professor of communications at Saint Francis and the play-by-play announcer for the Red Flash.

SFU head men’s basketball coach Rob Krimmel recalled a game against Farleigh Dickinson in 2004-05 that drew a big crowd. Saint Francis won on a buzzer-beater against FDU, which was the number one team in the NEC at the time.

Krimmel, who also played at Saint Francis, remembered a game against rival Robert Morris on Dec. 13, 2013, when reflecting on games that drew a lot of fans. Red Flash fans turned this game, won by the Colonials, 66-60, into a “white out.”

“That was the craziest game I had ever been a part of during my four years at Saint Francis,” said former All-NEC forward Ronnie Drinnon, a sophomore at the time. “There was so much noise during the game that we could barely hear what Coach Krimmel was trying to tell us during the game.”

Do larger crowds make a difference? Farabaugh thinks they do.

“They make the game much more exciting for players, coaches and for the people in the crowd,” said Farabaugh. “They bring energy to the building.”

Krimmel gives credit to the Red Flash athletics department, notably senior associate director of athletics Jim Brazill, for the crowd that turned out for the game against Wagner.

“Mr. Brazil and the marketing department do a great job with promoting the games,” said Krimmel.

Krimmel also said that Dave Wilson, head of SFU’s Counseling Center, worked hard to get students to turn out for the Wagner game. The game was “Greek Night,” and intended to honor the achievements of Red Flash senior guard Georgious Angelou, a native of Halkida, Greece.

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