Zona Zoo sells out 1st hoops game of the year

Michael Schwartz

Zona Zoo director David Roost and his associates were not surprised that students reserved all the seats in the approximately 2,290-person section for Sunday’s men’s basketball game against ASU.

But they were a little shocked that the students’ first sellout of the year came about seven and a half hours after tickets were first put on sale Sunday at 10 a.m., the fastest a game has ever sold out in the past two years of students buying tickets on an individual basis.

“”This is a really big deal,”” Roost said, “”not just because we sold out a game, but students are really making a statement by selling out a game in seven and a half hours. That’s not typical behavior in the last year or two.

“”That’s a big statement when there’s been questions about cutting down the student section. What happened (Sunday) we will always use as a perfect example of why we need those seats and why they can’t be taken away from the students.””

The ASU game marks just the second game that has ever sold out under the new system, along with last year’s showdown against then-No. 4 North Carolina, although last year’s ASU game neared sellout status.

This sellout comes on the heels of a pair of boisterous crowds during the first Pac-10 homestand of the school year against the Washington schools, with students reserving about 2,100 seats for the Jan. 24 game against then-No. 6 Washington State and the general public picking up the rest.

Zona Zoo development director Nick Sproul said he received about 40 phone calls concerning ticket availability in the Zona Zoo office yesterday, but unlike the Washington weekend’s false alarm when the Web site temporarily went down, this one was for real.

Besides paying for general admission tickets, students who still want to go can take advantage of the transfer system – if another student has to miss the 12:30 p.m. contest, they can transfer their reservation.

The UA Student Alumni Association will also be showing the game in Gallagher Theater to bring some on-campus atmosphere to students who cannot get tickets.

“”There’s a lot of excitement,”” Roost said. “”Everyone wants a piece of it.””