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Subdued atmosphere in E.L. after MSU loss; 21 arrested

April 7, 2009

Revelers cheer for MSU after the NCAA championship game early Tuesday morning in Cedar Village. MSU lost to North Carolina, but students who crowded in Cedar Village ran through the streets cheering for the Spartans.

Spartans celebrated somberly following the MSU men’s basketball team’s loss to North Carolina in the NCAA national championship game on Monday night.

A police-estimated crowd of about 1,700 people gathered in Cedar Village around midnight, shouting and celebrating in cold, damp weather.

By the end of the night, 21 people were arrested citywide on various charges, East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said.

The Cedar Village-area crowd shrank significantly by 1:40 a.m., and the police asked all remaining people in the street to go home. The crowd dispersed within minutes.

Medical technology junior Ashley Allemon said the atmosphere was quieter than Saturday’s after the Final Four victory, and it’s a good thing people behaved.

“It gives our school a bad reputation with people throwing beer bottles and stuff,” she said. “I hope it’s more peaceful because we get looked down upon.”

The weather helped put a damper on what could have been a rowdy night, Wibert said.

“I’ve got to think that people are going to get cold, because it’s kind of bitter,” he said, adding that he didn’t see anything thrown in the air as of 12:10 a.m.

Temperatures in East Lansing were at 29 degrees by 11:53 p.m. Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

Not everyone hoped for a calm evening. Business junior Mike Blair wanted fans to let loose.

“I just want to see us go crazy tonight,” he said. “It’s always more fun when that happens. The police just need to lay off a little.”

Yet many still were glad to see the calm reaction among their peers, while still exuding pride in their Spartans team.

“People are celebrating smarter and better than what anyone had planned for,” advertising senior Chea Tyrrell said. “The loss was disappointing but we played hard and made it to the championship.”

Agricultural industries sophomore Kevin Onweller agreed.

“Most of us are just excited we got this far, nobody expected us to do this,” Onweller said. “This is just MSU students being proud of who they are.”

Downtown East Lansing also was quiet, with people filing out of bars and heading home. Crowds of police rivaled the number of people on the streets.

Criminal justice sophomore Andrew Rench said the game was all right, as he traveled outside Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar, 360 Albert Ave.

“This was a good year, but it’s still disappointing,” he said.

Last updated 3:21 a.m.

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