CALDWELL -- The atmosphere of a Yotes Basketball home game moved into Jewett Auditorium Wednesday night as fans gathered to watch the College of Idaho take on the College of the Ozarks in the first round of the NAIA Division II Championships.
Many Yotes fans could not make the game in Branson, Missouri, so they stayed on campus and watched the game streaming live on the big screen in one of the auditoriums.
All of these fans and students have come to all of our home games, they're 17-0 at our home games this year, so there's been a real camaraderie that these folks have from throughout the season, said Joe Hughes, with the College of Idaho Athletic Department. We wanted to just provide a place where they can come together, watch it together, cheer together.
The last time Hughes said he has seen this kind of excitement for Yotes men's basketball was when they won the National Championship in 1996. He said the excitement has overtaken the campus yet again.
When you're a team that's seeded second in the nation and you have the longest winning streak in the country, it generates a lot of excitement, Hughes said.
It's been a lot of fun this year, said student Morgan Thornberry. There's been a ton of big energy, tons of new crowds, big cheering sections.
Even former Yotes Basketball players came to support the team.
They have a banner year this year, said Wally Lonergan, who played basketball at the College of Idaho and graduated in 1950. It's been very exciting. They had about three years in a row that were down and now it's very, very big.
College of Idaho student Cory Brady seconded the feeling.
This year it's been a big turnaround from last year and from game to game to game it just seems they keep getting better and better, said Brady.
The College of Idaho men's and women's basketball teams often travel together. Some members of the women's team came to support their male counterparts. They believed in the team.
I feel like we have a lot of different areas in our play, like in style of game because it's not just one person you can do to to score or to develop defense, said Chakala Carthen about the men's team, who plays for the College of Idaho women's basketball team. Everybody brings a part to the team.
The Yotes fell to the Bobcats 88-84. The NAIA Division II National Championship game is on Tuesday.