Disappointment hung heavy on a mournful State Street


A UK fan smashes a beer bottle on the wall on State Street as UK loses to Kansas State 61-58 in the Sweet Sixteen on March 23, 2018. Photo by Jordan Prather. 

Jacob Eads

When Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s desperate final attempt to launch UK into the Elite Eight rang off the backboard, the hordes of hyper-invested students, huddled around projectors on State Street, sprang into disarray.

Fans bombarded the screens they were once cheering at with bottles, cans and profanities alike. In an instant, fights were erupted, trashcans were mutilated and tears were spilled.

“It was pretty quiet until some of the boys started getting angry, and they started kicking everything,” said UK sophomore Samantha Hart.

After the initial storm of scuffles and screams, the agitated Wildcats stared at their neighbors with looks of denial, aimlessly traipsing up and down the street.

“We sat there with our heads in our heads in our hands. Just absolute silence, in complete disappointment,” said UK sophomore Hannah Fancher.

Lexington and UK police maintained a vigilant eye over the night’s festivities. As the game clock drew to the buzzer, officers in riot gear marched up State Street to corral the mournful jamboree to the confines of State Street.

“They are really great, last year they were really willing to take pictures with people and chat with people. They still do their job, and kind of keep an eye on everybody, but they’ve been really really nice,” said UK sophomore Corina Lemieux about the police forces.

There were no arrests as a result of the gathering on State Street, according to the city of Lexington.

Multiple students recounted how last year’s victory celebration following UK’s win over UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen invited “thousands” of fans out to join the fun in the street.

As the sting of the loss wore off for some, fans packed their bags and the masses dispersed from State Street with hopes for a better season next year.

“Morale is low. We’re torn apart,” said UK freshman Nick Grayson. “I really hope everyone takes a good look at this and says, ‘You know what, we can do better.’ This really sums up what UK is all about.”

The street had been cleared for cleaning by 1:34 a.m., according to the city of Lexington.