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Cavalier fans rock the town on historic night
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Cavalier fans rock the town on historic night

From the UVa Sports series

Updated at 12:22 a.m. Tuesday

Teeming crowds of screaming students swarmed the streets around the University of Virginia, climbing atop a dump truck, spraying each other with beer and champagne and shouting with joy after the Cavaliers won the NCAA men’s basketball championship game in overtime Monday night.

Streams of celebratory Hoos poured from the bars and into the streets as screams of joy echoed throughout the block.

An ever-growing crowd packed the Corner until there was no room to stand; each person’s movement pushing the crowd like an ocean. Not a single face was free of sweat and glee.

 “This is best night of my life,” screamed one woman before diving into the crowd.

Fireworks echoed in neighborhoods and reports of shots fired were called into police in the celebratory aftermath.

Dozens of students who had gathered on the Lawn with a projector screen for the final minutes of the game exploded with joy as the clock ticked down and the Cavs took the national title.

As the clock ticked down, students began streaming toward the Corner but others stayed until the very end, spraying beer and champagne and huddled into a crying, screaming mass.

“We’re national champions!” several men screamed. “We did it!”

Virginia fans also turned out in force at the John Paul Jones Arena and the Paramount Theater to watch the big game Monday night.

UVa, Charlottesville, Albemarle County and state police worked to keep the crowds safe, guarding railroad tracks and watching the celebrations.

As the game went into overtime, police announced additional street closures around Grounds.

At JPJ, about 8,000 students and local residents watched the game, which was played in Minneapolis. The roar from a floor-to-ceiling crowd shook the viewing party as Virginia guard Ty Jerome drained a 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the first half the game.

Rain earlier in the day didn’t dampen the mood in Charlottesville as tipoff approached. It was standing room only at bars across town. A few hopefuls in blue and orange waited in standby outside the Paramount Theater, which ran out of tickets for its free screening of the game.

Staff members at the Paramount said they expected spirit, as well as class from fans — “we don’t set fire to cars or anything like that here.”

At Random Row Brewery, clad head to toe in navy and orange, UVa alumna Ashleigh Jean said she was excited to see the team make it to the championship.

“They never made it this far when I was in school,” she said. “After a rough time last year, it’s good to see them get here.”

The Cavaliers, who made history in last year’s NCAA Tournament by becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed, made history again Monday night — the good kind.

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