WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Even in "down" years, there's usually buzz around the Wichita State University men's basketball team, The atmosphere at WSU home games inside Charles Koch Arena is a selling point for the program, but when looking at actual attendance in some recent home games, WSU Head Coach Gregg Marshall asks for more from the fans.
Feb, 9, 2019; Wichita, Kansas, USA; during the game between Wichita State and Tulane at Koch Arena ©Kelly Ross
Thursday night, the Shockers hosted Central Arkansas who has a single win to its record so far. It was a non-conference "guaranteed" game that was expected to end in a blowout and didn't present the intrigue that games ahead will with the meat of WSU's non-conference schedule leading into battles in the traditionally strong American Athletic Conference.
The announced paid attendance Thursday night was more than 10,000 in the 10,506-seat arena. But looking around the arena, there was a sharp contrast between the number of tickets sold for the game and the number of fans who showed up. Actual attendance was a little more than 6,000.
The Shockers are off to a 7-1 start to a season in which they're expecting to return to the NCAA Tournament after last season's rebuild. This season comes with loftier goals for Wichita State in the AAC and further down the road in the postseason. To realize goals, Marshall says his team needs the home crowd's energy, game in and game out and it's vital that 10,000-plus people who buy tickets be at the game. If a fan has a ticket and can't make it,
Marshall asks that they pass that ticket along to another fan who wants to be there, but doesn't already have a ticket.
"It's gonna be vital that that place is rocking, so all i ask is you've paid the money, you've bought the tickets, give them to someone so that they can use them," he requests of ticket holders unable to attend the game.
Wichita State freshman David Fitzhugh says students who don't attend the games are missing out.
"It's just a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so you need to go to the games," he says. "Enjoy the moments."