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Basketball-Kentucky fans tone down celebrations after NCAA win

Kentucky basketballfans were far more sedate when they took to the streets tocelebrate the school’s eighth NCAA championship on Monday, astark contrast to the violence that followed the semi-final winover Louisville two days earlier. The University of Kentucky Wildcats, college basketball’smost successful program, defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 67-59 inNew Orleans on Monday, setting off a raucous night of partyingon the campus in Lexington. Thousands flooded the campus and the streets of downtownLexington following the school’s first NCAA basketball titlesince 1998. Lexington police said had put out one small fire andreported only a handful of arrests and several citations, allfor alcohol related offenses. “It’s controlled chaos right now and we’re all hoping itstays that way,” one campus police officer told reporters. “I have a feeling there’s not going to be much sleepinggoing on around here tonight.” Thousands of students poured onto the streets surroundingthe campus, some singing the school fight song, some wavingUniversity of Kentucky and American flags, and others snappingpictures and taking video to preserve the historic evening. “This is unbelievable,” Lexington resident and formerKentucky student Dustin Harrison said after arriving at thecampus to celebrate the victory with friends. “I’m just hoping none of that crazy stuff goes on like itdid the other night,” the 33-year-old added. Following Kentucky’s victory over bitter rivals Louisvilleon Saturday, at least one car was overturned and burned andseveral couches were set ablaze near campus. About 30 people were arrested by police, the sheriff’soffice, fire emergency services and campus police on chargesranging from alcohol intoxication to criminal mischief anddisorderly conduct. Pictures and video footage of the scene made nationalheadlines, embarrassing school and local officials, who vowed toprevent a repeat performance on Monday. Police Chief Ronnie Bastin said during a Monday afternoonpress conference that several hundred officers, more than wereon patrol following Saturday’s game, would be on the streets inan attempt to curtail such behavior. During the news conference, Lexington Police Commander ShawnColeman displayed photographs of 14 people being sought forallegedly throwing bottles at officers, shooting fireworks intoa crowd, starting a vehicle fire and damaging a stop sign. Coleman said that if they were identified and apprehended,they would face charges of arson, wanton endangerment, assaultor criminal mischief. University President Eli Capilouto sent out an e-mail tostudents hours before the game, pleading with them to have funand celebrate without endangering others. “Illegal behavior that jeopardises the safety and well-beingof others will not be tolerated, and those who cross that linewill be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law,” the emailsaid.  

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