By: Bill Schammert
It was an epic scene at Pinnacle Bank Arena Sunday night, hundreds of fans - waiting 16 years for this moment - rushed the arena floor after the final buzzer.
There was speculation after last night's Husker win against the #9 Badgers, that the arena floor may been damaged. That speculation can be put to rest.
"I'm standing on the floor right now," Pinnacle Bank Arena GM Tom Lorenz told us. "We came through Sunday night, the floor is in terrific shape."
But it is worthy of consideration. Portable basketball floors, after all, are not meant to have hundreds of people jumping on top of them.
"The floor can handle it, but we did some things with the music," Lorenz said. "There wasn't a single beat playing so people aren't jumping in unison."
That wasn't the case during this season's first court storming against Ohio State, when the team played "Jump" as fans rushed the floor.
At more than $100,000, a hardwood court is not cheap to replace. But, this is actually the arena's second floor this year. The first one was replaced by the manufacturer about a month ago after the seems on the water-based finish started peeling.
With the new floor, the base was upgraded.
"Makes the floor that much more durable and able to handle those situations," Lorenz said in reference to fans rushing the court.
Lorenz says he enjoys the enthusiasm, but that's not the case everywhere. The Southeastern Conference uses a tiered fine system to ensure player and fan safety. South Carolina rushed the court on March 1st after its win against Kentucky. The university was subsequently fined $25,000.
Here in Lincoln, court storming is probably over for the year, but basketball on the new court certainly is not. Between state basketball, the Huskers, and the NCAA Women's Regional, more than 40 games will be played on the court during the month of March.