“The Marriott Center is absolutely lit. Noise levels off the chart. Goes to show what a lower bowl of passionate fans can do,” tweeted @byuROC during the men’s basketball National Invitational Tournament (NIT) matchup against Virginia Tech.
The nail-biter victory—second in BYU’s run to the NIT’s final four at the Madison Square Garden—came with a powerful assist from the Roar of Cougars (ROC), BYU’s boisterous student section. The ROC’s contribution down the stretch was acknowledged by just about everyone: ESPN announcers marveled at “the sea of white that is the ROC”; the students reveled in the Hokies’ 10 of 18 free-throw shooting in the second half, when facing the ROC; football coach Kalani F. Sitake (BA ’00) joined in the fun after halftime (right, wearing blue baseball shirt); and basketball coach Dave Rose applauded the ROC before exiting the court following the 80–77 finish.