One thing is for sure—the Qs cannot play for long in their present home, San Diego State's 4,200-seat Peterson Gym. Even the school's team no longer performs there, possibly because the players cannot find it, tucked off as it is atop a remote mesa. There are no refreshment stands in the building, no backs on the pullout bleachers and very little wattage in the P.A. system. There are also no turnstiles, a convenience that allows Groza to invent the attendance figures; Alex obviously thinks some fans are coming disguised as empty seats. When the gym is half full, which has been the case at most of the Qs games so far, the place has a jayvee flavor. Spectators mill around the edge of the floor as the players race past inches away, and much of the crowd is made up of Conquistador friends and relatives. Even if Bloom sold every seat for every game, he would still lose $500,000 this season, and the deficit will more likely be in excess of 5750,000.
A near-capacity crowd did show up last Friday and with good reason. The ABA schedule makers were generous to the Qs, who played their first seven games at home, four of them against weak teams. San Diego won all four, no small achievement for an expansion team, and then downed the first good club they met, the Eastern Division-leading Carolina Cougars. The Qs won easily 123-109, as former NBA All-Stars Joe Caldwell and Billy Cunningham were outplayed by two guys named Ollie Taylor and Jerry Chambers. The big crowd last Friday came to see Utah try to cut the Qs' division lead. The Stars did just that, 123-107, but San Diego stayed close until four minutes to play when Utah broke a 100-100 tie. The loss showed that San Diego is a typical expansion team in another sense—it doesn't have a center to match the likes of Zelmo Beaty, who scored 32 points and drew 10 fouls from the three men who attempted to guard him.
Still, with only one team to beat in its division, the Qs should make the playoffs, in itself a pleasant change for San Diego fans, and if Dr. Bloom's track record holds they may get a new arena too, whether or not they can fill it.