Virginia fans storm court after win, provide raucous playing environment

first_imgCHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — When Virginia’s win over Syracuse was wrapping up and a matter of minutes separated the Cavaliers from their first unshared Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title since 1981, a message appeared on the big screen.It reminded fans not to rush the court when the game was over. A smattering of boos echoed through John Paul Jones Arena, as the fans that watched their team dismantle the No. 4 Orange 75-56 voiced their displeasure.But they weren’t going to be stopped by a message on the board. When the final buzzer sounded, fans rushed the court and partied like it was 1981. They were exuberant and noisy — like they were all game.“Last time I heard it that loud, I was at the Taylor Swift concert.” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “I remember I sat there and there were 14,000 teenage girls screaming and I was like ‘I wonder if we can get it like this for a game.’“And I’m telling you something. It either rivaled or surpassed it. It was that good.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFans frolicked all night long, throwing streamers into the air, chanting “A-C-C” as the clock wound down and jumping as music blared from the loudspeaker.The postgame celebration wasn’t the typical full-fledged storming at first, though. Security guards in vibrant yellow jackets watched as fans trickled onto the court with orange shirts and clever signs. They tried to keep the madness to a minimum.Once the fans got there, though, the chaos entered full swing. Fans hoisted other fans in the air. They swung their fists. Virginia players even cut down the net.The fans and players celebrated what many people deemed a longshot at the start of the season. With Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina and Pittsburgh at the forefront of the ACC, a Virginia regular-season title didn’t seem likely.But the Cavaliers are regular-season champions. Fans were fired up from the get-go. There was a “Tele-Tobey” costume and sign for Virginia forward Mike Tobey. There was a “London #23 Piranhas” sign accompanied by a string of piranhas with London Perrantes’ face on it. There was even an enormous Dick Vitale head that Dickie V himself posed with before the game.“I knew it was going to be electric,” Bennett said, “but that crowd gives you something defensively. I mean it was special how intense it was in there and the passion you got from it.”SU head coach Jim Boeheim wasn’t convinced the crowd affected Syracuse. Crowds don’t win games, he said. Players and coaches do.“The only thing different about this place is their players,” Boeheim said. “There’s no place that scores points. No fans that score points. It’s all myth, mythology that we like to build up.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm Contact Trevor: tbhass@syr.edu | @TrevorHasslast_img

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