Michigan State’s Cassius Winston, left, and Matt McQuaid react after the team’s 61-51 loss to Texas Tech. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Hundreds of disappointed Michigan State basketball fans triggered mayhem in the streets of East Lansing after the Spartans’ 61-51 loss to Texas Tech in Saturday night’s national semifinal, hurling bottles and tearing down street signs, according to local police.
The East Lansing Police Department said in a statement Sunday that the crowd congregated at a downtown intersection immediately after the game. Approximately 30 minutes later, the fans moved to another intersection where they started blocking traffic and throwing glass bottles into the air. Officials estimated the crowd at being between 1,200 and 1,500 people at its peak.
The department said 23 arrests were made Saturday evening, all but one for misdemeanor offenses. The department also said fire crews responded to 10 small fires across the city, which “consisted of small pieces of furniture and there were no significantly sized crowds gathered around these fires.”
Two street signs and a police van also were damaged.
Michigan State students and fans have a history of unruly behavior after important basketball games. In 1999, following a Final Four loss to Duke, thousands of students and fans rioted outside the campus, triggering hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and leading to 132 arrests. Smaller disturbances followed a loss to North Carolina in the 2005 Final Four, as well as after the school’s football team won the Big Ten championship in 2013.
Police in Lubbock, Texas, also were busy Saturday night as fans celebrating Texas Tech’s win poured into the streets around that school’s campus, shutting down traffic and lighting fires.
Videos and photos showed at least one fire burning in a street and a flipped car.
“Don’t burn down Lubbock before we get back,” Red Raiders guard Matt Mooney said Sunday before practice ahead of Monday night’s national championship game against Virginia. “I know it was crazy out there. Just be safe.”
The city of Lubbock said in a statement that hundreds of fans gathered near campus and “engaged in extremely dangerous, and disappointing, behavior that included vandalizing property.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.