By Baylee Pulliam and James El-Mallakh–
The Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Final Four, after a 72:68 comeback against the University of Florida Gators on Saturday. And fans in Louisville let the world know it, with wild street celebrations long into the night.
Kelly Byrd and Holly Babcock didn’t watch the game – they’re devoted University of Kentucky fans. But they say U of L’s win was impossible to ignore.
“It was like the whole place erupted,” said Byrd, a freshman undecided major.
From the view from her balcony on Sunday morning, the Province looked mostly deserted. “People are probably recovering,” she said.
Babcock, also a freshman undecided major, said she spent the greater part of her night listening to her neighbors cheering and honking their car horns. “The whole place just went nuts,” she said. “People just flooded out into the parking lot and stayed there for hours.”
Both Byrd and Babcock said they were more excited about Sunday’s Baylor versus UK match up.
Clayton Usher was in his room at Bettie Johnson when the game ended. When he looked out his window, a crowd of about 20 people was standing at the intersection of Cardinal Boulevard and 4th Street.
Five minutes later, there were 50 people. Five minutes after that, there were nearly 300.
“It was crazy,” said Usher, a sophomore bioengineering major. “They pretty much stopped traffic.”
Police did stop traffic on 4th Street and Cardinal Boulevard based on their own decision to preserve public safety, according to John Drees, a spokesman for U of L.
Drees said that celebrations went off without incident, that students were peaceful and it, “seems like a lot of students just wanted to have a good time.”
In downtown Louisville, the celebrations were no less jubilant according to Officer Carey Klain, spokesperson for LMPD.
“It was a celebration all over the city that just sort of erupted,” said Klain, describing it as, “very similar to derby time on Broadway.”
She also says that the night went “pretty much without incident.” And that only one juvenile was arrested for fleeing and evading police and another juvenile was given a citation.
Police patrolled traffic in the streets from 9th to 30th on Broadway and they started their patrol just after the game ended, around 7 p.m. and ended at about 10 p.m.
Over on Greek row, victory-happy Cards fans “threw a picnic table off the back porch” of the Sigma Epsilon house, said Kelsey Fussinger, a freshman secondary education major who was there Saturday to watch the game.
Other students reported tossed futons, a speaker thrown out the window and a picnic table set on fire on the Greek row sand volleyball court.
Everything was cleaned up by Sunday morning.
U of L president James Ramsey posted on his Facebook page,
“What an amazing night, game and group of academic athletes. Congratulations to our U of L Men’s Basketball team for making it to the NCAA Final Four. What an amazing accomplishment. Thank you for all of your effort and work on the basketball courts and in the classroom. GO (academic) CARDS!”
Photo: Nathan Gardner/The Louisville Cardinal