A wild night for the Wildcats



Larry Flynn

Photo courtesy of Matt Powers




On Monday night, at 11:27 p.m., the University erupted in cheers. Kris Jenkins scored the game winning three-pointer as time expired, gifting the Wildcats their second NCAA Tournament Championship.

The students on campus, who filled the Pavilion, burst with cheers immediately jumping, crying, and taking in the glory of the Championship victory. Within minutes, students and alumni from various parts of campus stormed streets of Lancaster Avenue to cheer and celebrate the victory. 

To ensure student safety, Radnor Police prepared for the celebrations, blocking off a two-mile stretch of the main road, allowing for basketball fans to celebrate the Wildcats first National victory in 31 years.

Local residents came out to watch the celebrations from sidewalks in Bryn Mawr, some even setting up speakers to turn the cheers into a street party. Overhead, helicopters circulated the celebratory mob, while more news cameras covered the students from the ground. 

Although students spotted local authorities greasing light poles and street signs earlier in the week, eager fans climbed anything and everything in sight.At the intersection of Ithan and Lancaster, students climbed the University’s entrance sign, shot off fireworks and managed to remove street turn signs.

The police responded quickly and helped the rowdy fans down, but did not generally interfere with the celebrations.

“I’m here to make sure people don’t do anything dangerous, otherwise I don’t care what [the students] do” a police officer told locals in Bryn Mawr.

The crowd cheered endlessly, reciting the University fight song and chanting “Nova!”

By midnight the mob had moved to the Quad and the lawn around the Oreo. With all entrances to the University barricaded against local vehicles, police contained the students with Public Safety officers and members from VEMs nearby.

Seven police officers were mounted on horses blocking students from moving further into the center of campus. Behind them, upwards of a dozen officers held riot shields in preparation for the situation to boil over. 

Students were seen drinking, using drugs and setting off smoke bombs.  Students climbed into the University trees, tossed toilet paper to other sides of the crowd, and lit large branches on fire. Outside of Connelly, music played, inviting students into a group dance party.

The night was one many students have called “once in a lifetime,” but for others, it may not have boded as well. Upwards of six students were arrested for reckless behavior, while about 27 others were hospitalized.

Coming off of the biggest Wildcat win, celebrations were expected to go all night and prompted classes to be canceled for Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Houston, Nova Nation was celebrating in full force. At the team hotel, family, alumni, and students erupted in applause as Jay Wright and the Wildcats stormed into the team’s banquet hall. Wright thanked the fans for their support, calling their two Final Four games in Houston “home games” due to overwhelming fan support.

Ryan Arcidiacono, Daniel Ochefu, Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins and Phil Booth all gave brief speeches to the fans. Hart meandered to the podium to a cacophony of “one more year” chants, as fans hope their junior leader will forego entering the NBA draft and return for his senior season.

Arcidiacono joked that he would love to stay another year, although, unfortunately, it was one of Nova Nation’s last looks at Arcidiacono as a college basketball player.

Other Villanova fans took to the local “Dogwood Bar” near the hotel, continuing their celebrations late into the night.

Looking forward to the weekend, celebrations will continue with a parade in honor of the Men’s Basketball team in Center City Philadelphia.

The parade will begin at 1 p.m., at 20th and Market streets and will end at Dilworth Park.