Onward to the Final Four: As VCU men’s basketball defeated Kansas 71-61 in the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight on Sunday, thousands of fans filled the university’s campus and its surrounding streets in celebration.
The VCU vs. Kansas game brought on the second round of Richmond’s mass gatherings that have occurred as the VCU men’s basketball team continues to make their way through the tournament.
“This is a big step in the right direction for VCU,” said eyewitness and jun
ior mechanical engineering major Patrick Jackman. “Everyone knows that VCU is the best at supporting our team and our energy after the game proved it.”The first breakout of street celebrations came Friday after VCU beat Purdue 72-71. On Friday and Sunday, students and fans alike poured into blocks of streets surrounding VCU’s Monroe Park campus as well as the center of the university immediately after both of the games ended.
Police officials blockaded streets surrounding the university (including West Broad, Lombardy, Harrison streets, among others) to accommodate the surge of fans who took their game celebrations outside of the Stuart C. Siegel Center (which hosted a watch party for Sunday’s game), restaurants and bars.
“People were right out there in the center of streets,” said eyewitness and Richmond resident James Murphy. “Cars stopped and played music, people were dancing in the streets and on top of cars and others were hanging out of windows chanting … ”
windows, looking on as individuals climbed on the tops of cars and the rooftops of buildings. Fans also held signs and banners as one fan even sprayed a fire extinguisher into the crowd.Several hundred filtered into the VCU Compass on both game days, some students brought instruments to match the screams of pride erupting from the crowds. Sunday chants included: “Final Four,” “We want Butler,” and “Let’s go Rams!”
On Broad Street, some people cheered on the massive Sunday gathering from their street-side
Police officials heavily monitored the crowds in cars and on horses. No arrests were made Friday according to officials; but neither VCU or Richmond Police were able to be reached for comment Sunday.
“This is the biggest thing to happen to Richmond since the Civil War!” said Courtney Marcellin, a sophomore fashion merchandising major.
VCU takes on Butler in the Final Four on Saturday, April 2.