More Wins; More Fans

ATHENS - Mimicking it's increase in wins, Georgia's attendance at home basketball games rose dramatically in 2010.

The Bulldogs drew 131,998 fans to 16 home games in Stegeman Coliseum last season--an average of 8,250 per game. In 2009, the average per game was 6,834.

The increase was the ninth-best rise in attendance nationally.

Bettering his team's home-court advantage was a goal Mark Fox set out to achieve from the day he arrived in Athens.

"Well one of the things that last year our guys, when I first came before last season, one of the things I asked is, ‘how can I help you?'" Fox said. "They said we want to have a better atmosphere for home games. I said, ‘well you're going to have to play the game the right way for people to want to come watch you.' I just told them if you do that, you're fans will come back before you start winning."

The fans did come back. And Georgia did start winning. The Bulldogs finished 21-12 and played in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001.

Players said the fan support was a key factor in the team's 12-4 record at Stegeman Coliseum this season.

"Yeah definitely," said junior guard Dustin Ware. "Definitely. You can tell a difference between now and this time last year with just how there's a lot more fans and lot more excitement in the arena. It really just helps us as players. It gives us a lot of extra energy. It just helps us want to play harder because we know we have a lot of people watching."

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