Final Four hopes dashed on State Street


During a celebration of the Kentucky Wildcats’ 86-75 Sweet Sixteen victory over UCLA, police move in to distinguish a fire on State Street in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Kentucky will play the University of North Carolina in the Elite Eight on Sunday.

Matthew Wickstrom

Moments after UK men’s basketball’s 86-75 win over UCLA in the Sweet 16 on Friday night, fans overcome with March Madness fever stormed State Street in celebration near campus.

Two days later, elation turned into sorrow when the UNC Chapel-Hill beat the Cats, ruining their bid for the Final Four.

According to Lexington Police, who worked in conjunction with UK Police, two arrests were made in the State Street area after Friday’s victory, one for disorderly conduct and the other for disorderly conduct with public intoxication.

During the celebrations fans were seen setting a number of small objects on fire, including shirts, beer boxes and paper. Once fires began, small teams of Lexington Police equipped in riot gear were ready to put them out and make sure those among the crowd were safe. Couches were spared, and chants of “C-A-T-S Cats Cats Cats” echoed up and down State Street.

Celebrations ended roughly around 2:20 a.m. Saturday when Lexington PD helped to clear the way for street sweepers.

McKenna Riemer, a pre-physical therapy junior, described her feelings of excitement over the victory with the worry of property damage. Her home is nearby on Conn Terrace.

“The crowd was a lot of fun after the game, and it got me even more hyped after the win,” Riemer said. “People were lighting things on fire, but the police were right there to put it out and make sure everyone was safe. They were letting people have all the fun without letting it get out of hand.”

Sophomore accounting and integrated strategic communications double-major w Death, experienced her first State Street celebration Friday, and was hopeful looking forward to UK’s matchup against UNC.

She was hoping to win tickets to the Final Four through UK’s student lottery, and if she did she was planning a road trip to Phoenix with her friends.

“It’s exceeding all of my expectations —  it’s out of this world,” Death said. 

UNC’s victory means that South Carolina, the last SEC team in the tournament, will play the University of Oregon in the Final Four.