Excitement is building for what will be one of the biggest games in Moby Arena history, as No. 22/21 Colorado State plays host to No. 16/16 New Mexico Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. MT.
Entering Wednesday night's contest at UNLV, CSU sits a half-game behind New Mexico in the Mountain West standings. Additionally, Saturday will be the first matchup between two teams ranked in the AP Top 25. CSU is currently ranked No. 22, and the Lobos are No. 16.
While tickets for the general public sold out last Thursday, 2,500 student tickets became available Wednesday morning at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket office. The line began to form around 11 p.m. Tuesday evening, and grew to roughly 20 students by 5 a.m. Wednesday when KUSA-TV's Susie Wargin arrived to begin live shots on the morning news, followed closely by KMGH. KCNC later joined the scene, gathering live shots for its telecast, as did several local newspaper reporters and photographers.
Shortly before 8 a.m., when the ticket office began distributing tickets, the line stretched south of Moby Arena to the football practice field, wrapping around and extending to the intersection of Shields and Elizabeth streets
"Winning becomes a habit, and we're starting some great habits and great traditions," Jack Graham, director of athletics, told 9News amidst the swarm of students. "(Head coach) Tom Hilbert and our volleyball program have embodied what Colorado State athletics can be and should be, and Larry Eustachy and the men's basketball team are just carrying on that tradition, so we're off and running."
As coaches and staff members arrived for work Wednesday morning, many marveled at the dedication from the students.
Tom Ehlers, director of operations for the football program, twice brought out two large carafes of coffee for the students. Senior Associate A.D. for Community Relations Gary Ozzello, who has been at CSU in some capacity since 1974, said the sight reminded him of when students would camp out for Rocky Mountain Showdown football tickets, before they tickets were available online.
"It's pretty neat to see something like this," Ozzello said. "Students would line up the day of games in 1989-90 when Boyd Grant was here, but besides the CU football game, I've never seen a line like this several days beforehand."
There was a constant line throughout the morning, and the allotment was exhausted by 10:58, as students were still arriving.
The game is now officially a sellout, marking the third consecutive home game that will be played in front of a capacity crowd of 8,745 fans. It is the first time in program history that Moby Arena has seen three sellouts in a season, not to mention in consecutive games. CSU enters Saturday on a 27-game home win streak, which is a program record and ranks third nationally among active streaks.
Tickets for the men's basketball team's final two home games--Fresno State on Feb. 27 and Nevada on March 9--can be purchased at the McGraw Athletic Center, over the phone at 1-800-491-RAMS or online. Students can redeem their free tickets at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket office beginning Monday morning at 8 a.m. for the Fresno State game and Wednesday, March 6, at 8 a.m. for the home finale vs. Nevada.