The Philadelphia Daily News’ Rich Hoffman reports on the scary scenes that followed last night’s UConn/Villanova game (thanks to Chuck Meehan for the link).
The remnants of the victory stampede littered the floor behind one of the baskets at the Wachovia Center: a toppled press table, a messy tangle of heavy, metal folding chairs, two brown shoes dislodged from their owner, and several security guards surrounding a prone Villanova student, gasping for air.
“For a second there, I wasn’t breathing,” said Jon Branca, a 21-year-old junior from Ocean City, N.J.
Branca emphasized that he was fine and needed no medical treatment. But he was lucky. Because, as the final horn sounded on the Wildcats’ 69-64 victory over No. 1 Connecticut, hundreds of students attempted to storm the court and found themselves in a dangerous, frightening situation.
Security had no chance to stop the onslaught, but that wasn’t the main problem. It was this: a narrow opening to the court, bounded on one side by the basketball stanchion and the other by a press table and two rows of spectator seats. The students kept pushing from behind, even as the entrance to the court was clogged. Many were caught and unable to move.
An unfortunate incident to be sure, but if nothing else, it should provide further ammunition for Steven Wells’ next broadside aimed at Philly sports fans and/or Americans.