UConn students storm home court
Eight thousand turn out at Gampel Pavilion, storm court at finish
STORRS, Conn. -- Thousands of Connecticut students stormed the court at Gampel Pavilion Monday night as if the Huskies had just won the national championship at home.
Over 8,000 fans, mostly students, had nearly filled UConn's home arena to watch the game on the scoreboards and three large screens set up on the floor.
They erupted every time the Huskies scored. The sound became deafening when Jeremy Lamb made a 3-pointer to put UConn ahead in the second half. And with about 30 seconds left and the game no longer in doubt, they began pouring onto the arena floor to celebrate UConn's third national championship, and first since 2004.
"Oh my God, Oh my God," screamed UConn women's basketball star Maya Moore, as she put her hands on her head while watching her fellow students bounce up and down at midcourt.
The students then streamed out of the arena onto Stadium and Hillside Roads for a street party that lasted into the early morning.
"We became Huskies for this reason," said Kaitlyn Herman, a sophomore from Boston. "To just feel this school spirit, to all be here together, just cheering on this one team and just to celebrate together. It's what we stand for."
The students began filling Gampel Pavilion two hours before game time, chanting "Kemba Walker," and "U-C-O-N-N, UConn, UConn, UConn."
Sophomore Ryan King, 19, of Berwyn, Pa., came with his body painted blue and a big white "M" on his chest -- part of a group spelling out the name "KEMBA."
"It's magical man," he said. "The student body coming together, not many people get to see a Final Four while they're here.
In 2004, the last time the UConn men won a championship, 35 people were arrested after rowdy fans started fires and overturned some cars on and off campus.
University president Philip Austin and Police Chief Robert Hudd sent an email to students Monday asking them to behave after the national title game.
|INDIANAPOLIS -- At halftime, Hinkle Fieldhouse was rocking. Ten minutes into the second half, Butler's home venue was nearly silent.|
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"Nothing can be gained from harmful, destructive, or criminal actions," they wrote. "However, anyone who engages in this sort of behavior does have a great deal to lose, including risking arrest and possible expulsion from the university."
There were no immediate reports of trouble on campus, though police were questioning students after a firework exploded on the ground outside the student union. Nobody was injured.
Dana Cutler 19, a sophomore from Guilford was getting her picture taken with friends on top of the Husky Dog statue in front of the arena.
"It's going to be crazy all night, maybe even tomorrow and tomorrow night," she said. "We were just talking about it and we think they should cancel class tomorrow -- parade all day."
The women's basketball team flew home from Indianapolis on Monday after being upset by Notre Dame 72-63 on Sunday in the national semifinals.
Most of them came out into the arena to watch at the least the end of the men's game, hugging, cheering and crying as the seconds ticked off the clock.
"To be here and to celebrate their accomplishments it definitely lifts our spirits a little bit," said freshman center Stefanie Dolson. "Although our season didn't work out, it's just good to know that our guys' did."