SAN DIEGO - More than 100 people, many of them wearing San Diego State's red and black colors, rallied downtown Friday morning to spur the Aztecs men's basketball team to victory in their showdown with Brigham Young University.
The Aztecs, 27-1, are seeking to avenge their only loss of the season, a 71-58 setback in Provo, Utah, last month. Both teams are 12-1 in the Mountain West Conference, so the winner gets the inside track for the league championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Twelve cheerleaders, a 17-piece band and a man dressed in warrior armor riled up the crowd before the rally in Horton Square by leading cheers of "SDSU Aztecs Fight!'' and "I believe that we will win!''
Sean Kashanchi, vice president of SDSU's Associated Students Government, told the crowd that while his school excels in academics and funding, "now is our time to show the country who we are athletically.''
SDSU alumni, including County Supervisor Ron Roberts, Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Councilman Kevin Faulconer also took the stage to show their support.
Roberts, dressed in a black suit and red shirt and tie, led the crowd in a chant of "Beat BYU!''
"We need to wake up the national audience,'' he said. "I mean, number six? Tomorrow we're going to wake them up.''
Sanders told the crowd SDSU has transformed the city of San Diego.
"We're all looking forward to tomorrow, when we will jump out and have the greatest game in the history of San Diego State,'' he said.
Faulconer also led a cheer of, "I say go, you say Aztecs.''
"Tomorrow it's in our house,'' he said. "This is our time. Victory tomorrow.''
Students have been lined up outside the Viejas Arena ticket office since about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, braving chilly overnight temperatures with sleeping bags and makeshift tents to get their hands on the 2,500 general admission student tickets available for tomorrow's game. The tickets won't be handed out until 4 Friday afternoon.
SDSU President Stephen Weber joked with the crowd at the rally that "I am told not a single one of them missed a class.''
Many students were working together in shifts to allow them to attend class and handle other matters before re-claiming their spot in line. Other student groups split themselves up between the ticket office and the Viejas Arena gate, which is scheduled to open at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow -- 90 minutes ahead of the contest, which will be nationally televised on CBS.
City rallies around the Aztecs
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