All of the activities caused street closures on Franklin and Columbia streets, according to a statement issued by Chapel Hill police Capt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesperson for the Chapel Hill Police Department. Regular traffic resumed at 12:20 a.m., shortly after officials cleared streets at 11:45 p.m.
No one was arrested while people rushed, the statement said, but Orange County Emergency Services treated four people.
This was the first time people rushed Franklin Street in 2017. The Tar Heels lost to Duke, 86-78, on Feb. 9 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and UNC hadn’t beaten Duke at home since 2014. First-year Coleman Breen said it was exciting to experience a Franklin rush in his first year.
“It’s my first home win here at UNC against Duke,” he said. “I’m just really happy and excited. It’s extremely overwhelming, but it’s good.”
It was an especially exciting night for UNC seniors, who have had the opportunity to rush Franklin Street three times and watched the Tar Heels play in the National Championship game last year.
UNC senior Elizabeth Dinkins said rushing Franklin Street has been a different experience every year.
“The first time you do it, it’s really special,” she said. “This year was different because I got to see everyone experience something that I’ve experienced before.”
Last year, Dinkins said she ran to Franklin from the Smith Center after UNC won the Final Four game.
“I remember feeling so conflicted, like ‘Do we rush now? Is this a rush worthy event?’” she said. “Because it wasn’t like we had won the National Championship.”
Many people arrived at bars and restaurants on Franklin Street early in the day to get good seats. Linda’s Bar and Grill bartender Andrew Roush said the atmosphere before the game was crazy, but it calmed down shortly after.
“Once the game starts the atmosphere is totally different because everyone is watching the TV,” he said. “During halftime, people rush to the bar. It goes in waves.”
Dinkins said basketball has played a central role in unifying students and residents in the area.
“It’s not about the actual rushing, but rushing with your best friends,” she said. “I think the community we have at Carolina is a really special thing.”