The Chapel Hill Police Department said an estimated 15,000 students and residents flooded Franklin Street following UNC’s 76-72 victory over Duke Saturday night.
The Chapel Hill Police Department closed off Franklin Street from Henderson Street to Church Street, and Columbia Street from Cameron Avenue to Rosemary Street.
The downtown streets were closed around 8:35 p.m. and reopened at 10:05 p.m., according to a press release by the Chapel Hill Police Department.
Lt. Bryan Walker said because the game was at Duke, the police department did not plan ahead of time to send extra officers downtown.
“Tonight, I am not aware of any major preparations,” Walker said before the game.
But after the final buzzer rang at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham and the streets began to fill in downtown Chapel Hill, the police department decided it needed to send out extra enforcement to Franklin Street for the victory celebrations.
“They have several extra officers downtown specifically for the event,” Walker later said after the celebrations began.
Students downtown said the experience of rushing Franklin Street was one of a kind.
“It’s nights like these that are why I came to UNC,” UNC student Phil Piasecki said.
Several bonfires were set on Columbia Street and Franklin Street by burning tree branches, furniture and Duke jerseys. Fans then jumped over the bonfires.
There were no reports of damage or injuries resulting from the fires, according to Chapel Hill police.
Students also climbed light posts along Franklin Street and Columbia Street.
“It was euphoric,” UNC student Bradley Wilhelmy said.
“The whole experience is something I’ll never forget.”
This was the first rushing of Franklin Street in two years, since UNC’s Feb. 19, 2014 home win, when the rivalry game was delayed eight days due to inclement weather.
Students on Franklin Street were excited to beat UNC’s rival after a four-game losing streak.
“Duke is absolutely for sure the worst ever,” said UNC student Kurt Nelson.
Others were more sentimental about UNC’s victory and the resulting celebrations.
“Priceless. Something you dream about as a kid,” UNC student Michael Drewery said about the win. “Unlike any other.”
No arrests were made and no emergency medical calls were dispatched within the area of the event during the time, according to Chapel Hill police.
“The best team definitely won tonight,” UNC student Sierra Tokanel said. “Go to hell, Duke!”
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