By John Brown and Amanda Riddle
Arizona Daily Wildcat March 31, 1997
Fans show spirit at packed local barsUA students drenching themselves in beer and dog-piling on top of their friends at Maloney's On Fourth exemplified the city-wide celebration Saturday after one of the biggest wins in Arizona basketball history.
When Bennett Davison was fouled with six seconds remaining in the national semi-final match against North Carolina, fans started a frenzied beer bath by spraying shaken bottles into the crowd of exuberant fans.
The slippery floor took about 10 University of Arizona fans off their feet, but it did not stop the delirious celebration in the bar immediately after the Wildcats beat North Carolina 66-58 to advance to their first-ever championship game.
Odds makers had the Tar Heels as a 5-point favorite, but that did not stop Arizona fan Mike Parvin, an undeclared freshman, from believing in the Wildcats.
"There was no doubt in my mind that they would win," Parvin said moments after being showered with a drink.
"We've got the classiest coach in the country. We're going all the way," said Emily Aroito, a media arts junior.
"I'm going to the airport to greet these guys (on Tuesday). They deserve it. I love Bramlett," said Michael Baldes, an exercise and sport sciences senior.
As Baldes cheered for the Wildcats at Maloney's, 213 N. Fourth Ave., two tickets to Saturday's game were at his house, unused because he had to cancel his trip to Indianapolis at the last minute because of tests.
"It was the toughest decision I had to make in my life," said Baldes.
Maloney's packed in 382 fans, including U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, before fire officials forced the bar to turn away more than 100 patrons to ensure the bar stayed within legal occupancy limits.
Kolbe said he was watching the game at Maloney's because one of his staff members, who is a UA student, said it was the place to be to meet Wildcat fans.
Kolbe said he went to Arizona's last two unsuccessful Final Four appearances, but he decided to break the jinx and remain in Tucson this time.
O'Malley's On Fourth, 247 N. Fourth Ave., reached its total capacity by 1:30 p.m. and was cited shortly after for exceeding the bar's limit of 283 people, owner Brian Cummings said.
UA communication seniors Jill Ann Bolanowski and Nicole Reitman were among the fans who arrived at bars around town just before game time and had trouble getting in.
"We're loyal fans who usually come here to watch the games, but today it sucks," Reitman said.
Reitman and Bolanowski, determined to see the game, watched one of the 18 televisions through a mirror from the steps in front of Maloney's entrance.
Some fans discouraged by the lines on Fourth Avenue joined the crowd of about 200 Arizona fanatics and one lone Tar Heel fan at Gentle Ben's Brewing Co., 843 E. University Blvd.
"Fire marshals wouldn't let us in at Maloney's, which is stupid because I've seen it busier at night," said Kellie Lindback, a finance senior.
Donned in full North Carolina attire, Bryan Burr, on spring break from Hamlin University in St. Paul, Minn., was energized by the Tar Heels' early alley-oop clinic and 15-4 lead.
"When I get up and cheer, everybody stares at me, and when Arizona scores, everybody starts pointing at me. It's just a lot of fun," said Burr, who was also rooting for Minnesota and went home 0-2 for the weekend.
Most fans were not worried by North Carolina's early lead but believed the Wildcats would settle down after they got over the excitement of playing in the Final Four.
"We have every opportunity to win, we are just a little nervous, we can beat these guys," said Ben McKee, a student at Pima Community College, when Arizona still trailed the Tar Heels.
Without a line to get in, the Carl's Jr. at 1001 N. Park Ave., across from Manzanita-Mohave Residence Hall, attracted about 25 Arizona fans to watch the game on its 25-inch television.
"We went to the Wildcat House, but it was packed, so we came here," said Joe Tipton, a marketing freshman and resident of Babcock Residence Hall.
Mike Hoxsie, shift manager at Carl's Jr., said Saturday's crowd was significantly larger than crowds for the other network-televised games.