In college sports, there are heated rivalries, crazy mascots and iconic chants to make each game a special experience. However, there is nothing quite like the holiday tradition the Taylor University Trojans host every year.
Since 1997, the Christian liberal arts college in Upland, Indiana has been the home to one of the most unique moments in college basketball inside Odle Arena. It’s seriously one of the coolest traditions, and the annual Silent Night Game has become can’t-miss action of the men’s basketball team’s season.
With fans packing the NAIA gym on the weekend before December finals week, and almost every student wearing a costume, the annual game starts just as any hoops game would. The only catch is the Taylor crowd stays completely silent from the opening tip until the Trojans score their 10th point of the game.
Then, pandemonium ensues.
On a Friday night in 2018, Taylor Trojans senior Jake Heggeland stepped to the free throw line with 15 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the first half. Amidst complete silence, the entire crowd was on edge. When he sank the free throw, the entire crowd stormed the court as if they were celebrating a national championship.
Taylor University’s Silent Night Game
It truly doesn’t get much better than that and it’s amazing the opposing team, and the referees, know and embrace what’s coming.
Even Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb stopped by to check out what #TUSilentNight was all about.
As you can imagine, Taylor students go all out with costumes, from the Mariachi band to doctors to Noah’s Ark to the Energizer Bunny to even Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh.
The race to get a front row seat is a wild scene, too.
The costumes, the atmosphere, and even the storming of the court is amazing. But the best part of all was the entire Christian college crowd swaying and singing “Silent Night” at the end of the basketball game at the NAIA school.
Unfortunately, the Taylor lost to Grace Christian in 2018, 73-71, to hand the Trojans their first-ever loss in the Silent Night Game, but it was a night the crowd will always remember.
Needless to say, this is college basketball’s greatest holiday and Christmas tradition, and it’s not even close.