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After night of revelry, Louisville fans stay home

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 9, 2013 at 10:41 pm •  Published: April 9, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville fans, fresh off a night of revelry after the men's basketball team won its third national title, were more subdued Tuesday night as the women's team took on Connecticut and suffered a lopsided loss in the NCAA title game in New Orleans.

Cardinal Boulevard was quiet compared to Monday night, when 7,000 people hit the streets.

City and campus police planned to deploy 120 officers to keep the peace, but the streets were quiet within a half-hour after the Huskies beat Louisville for an eighth national championship.

Several police officers joked about actually being able to get some sleep for the first time in more than a week.

Some trickled out of Cluckers bar on the edge of campus as the Cardinals' deficit widened to 30 points.

"If the guys were down this much, would people have left?" asked junior Gina Vito. "I don't think they would have."

Midway through the first half, though, the lively crowd inside Cluckers erupted when Louisville 6-foot-10 center Gorgui Dieng strolled in, hours after arriving home from Atlanta.

"I just wanted to support the team," Dieng said. "It's what I usually do. I would've loved to be there, but I like being with friends. I think they can pull it out."

Men's coach Rick Pitino flew to New Orleans to support the women's team while his players returned to Louisville.

The Louisville women lost 93-60 but the men's win seemed to cushion the blow of the loss.

"It's pretty upsetting," said Jelicia Thomas, a senior. "But Louisville tried hard. We made it all the way to the national championship. We're better than 99 percent of the nation. So, that's awesome."

High spirits remained on campus.

"You can walk anywhere and feel that everyone is so excited," sophomore Lauren Nonos said Tuesday evening. "I just love the atmosphere."

Broken glass from Monday's celebration had been cleared off the street. The only sign of the crowds was a small broken tree that people had tried to climb.

Cassie Martin, a senior on the college track team, said earlier Tuesday that people would flood the street next to the campus, win or lose, to celebrate the teams' overall success.

"People will still be out there," she said. "Everyone's just so excited about U of L."

Martin added that the underdog women's team has been especially inspirational to students and fans.

Shortly before the women's game started, the downtown entertainment area Fourth Street Live was quiet, with just a handful of patrons dressed in red.

As he walked there, Jeff Rhoades said he thought Louisville fans were opting to watch the women's game at home after a late night watching the men's title game.

"I'm a pretty big fan, so I had to come out, even if there's work tomorrow," said Rhoades, 39.

Officers made about 30 arrests Monday night and early Tuesday for a variety of infractions, including firing guns into the air and disorderly conduct. But the crowd provided some lessons for officers, including the need to be tolerant while people celebrate, Louisville police Col. Kenton Buckner said.

"We learned to be flexible," Buckner said. "We can't really get frozen in a geographical area."

The university is holding a public celebration for both teams on Wednesday afternoon at the KFC Yum Center.

Monday night's festivities started moments after the Cardinals men's squad defeated the Michigan Wolverines 82-76 in Atlanta. Students and others gathered on Cardinal Boulevard near campus, where police were watching the crowd, as well as downtown and around the city.

Around 1:30 a.m., Buckner said, police spotters saw a woman near campus being disrobed and tried to disperse the crowd to get to her. The woman hasn't been identified and had not contacted police as of Tuesday afternoon.

"It was unclear if she was participating in that voluntarily," Buckner said.

Officers tried to break up the crowd, but the crowd pushed back and didn't disperse as officers commanded.

"That's kind of when things kind of turned on us," Buckner said.

Several scuffles followed and some partiers threw bottles at police, hitting an officer in the head, said police spokeswoman Carey Klain. The officer received minor injuries after a bottle struck the back of his helmet and was treated at a hospital and released, Klain said. A few revelers and several officers suffered minor injuries, most of which were treated at the scene. The injured officer was recovering at home Tuesday.

Police then shot pepper balls — condensed pepper spray — at the ground to break up the crowd, which left the area around 3:45 a.m., Buckner said.

___

Associated Press writer Brett Barrouquere and Sports Writer Gary Graves contributed to this report.


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