Clemson students brave the elements for UNC tickets

by - Senior Writer -
The tents started going up shortly after Clemson’s victory over Boston College on Sunday. (Photos: Koty Hood)

CLEMSON – The lawn at Littlejohn looks less like the outside of a basketball arena and more like a campground as Clemson students have been setting up tents outside the Coliseum in hopes of getting tickets for Wednesday’s game against the University of North Carolina.

The 24th-ranked Tigers (AP) host the 12th-ranked Tar Heels Wednesday evening at Littlejohn in a game that will tip off just after 9 p.m. [televised by ESPN], and Clemson sophomore swingman Tanner Smith said he loves seeing all of the tents set up outside of the building.

“I mean, it so exciting, something you see on TV at Duke or North Carolina, or places like that,” Smith said. “For that to be here, and for the students to be doing this is really exciting and it gives the team a certain edge. We want to do well for the guys out there that are camping out in the cold weather.”

The tents started going up shortly after Clemson’s victory over Boston College on Sunday, and each tent can only have two groups of ten students associated with it, making the real estate outside of the ticket office more valuable than many of the newer properties springing up around campus.

Senior Brennan Owens, who calls himself a “redshirt senior” because he is in his fifth year at the school, said his group set up their tent early Sunday evening and have the third place in line, and he said was looking forward to a cold evening as he takes his turn with his tent overnight on Tuesday.

“This is my first shift because I had homework earlier this week,” Owens said. “I have been out here for three hours, and I will spend the night out here. But the cold doesn’t bother me at all. This just shows the excellent school spirit we have here at Clemson. In fact, I would not miss this game for anything in the world.”

Clemson junior point guard Demontez Stitt said he hoped the fans are as loud and raucous as they were in last season’s victory over Duke.

“As a team, we appreciate our fans a lot, and they have made this one of the toughest places to play in the country,” Stitt said. “They continue to support us, and it is a good feeling when you walk outside, and it’s pretty cold, and you know that there are fans who are loyal to us and our program, and we appreciate it.”

Clemson head coach Oliver Purnell said that having home court advantage can play a huge role in a basketball game.
“Any time you are on the road or at home it [crowd noise] does have an effect,” Purnell said. “Home court means something in college basketball.”

Aubrey Neely, a freshman, said she has not missed a Clemson home game yet this season, and as she read a book with a blankets and sweatshirts draped over her chair, she said she was not about to miss this one either.

“A couple of my friends have spent the night, and one guy said it was really, really cold,” Neely said. “He said it took him over an hour to warm up. But I would not miss this, because it is Clemson basketball, and we love our sports, and I especially love Clemson basketball.”
Sophomore Todd Rapoport said he was braving the cold in order to get good seats to what he hopes will be an entertaining basketball game.

“Our tent has been out here since Sunday night, and you just do the shift thing,” Rapoport said. “Just come and spend a few hours and hang out and do some homework. But if you get tickets, you are getting a chance to see UNC play, which will probably win another national championship, if not this year then next year, and Clemson. Clemson has come alive the last couple of years and put themselves on the map in college basketball. It should be fun.”

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