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UNC Fans Cheer NCAA Win With Bonfires

Thousands of University of North Carolina (search) fans streamed onto the main drag near campus after the Tar Heels won the NCAA (search) basketball championship, screaming and cheering, tugging on street signs and tossing furniture into bonfires.

Police Capt. Brian Curran estimated the crowd reached about 45,000 at its height, but said there were only a handful of arrests and minor injuries. He said officers confiscated alcohol and pieces of furniture destined for the bonfires.

At least one female fan went topless and a male fan streaked through the crowd wearing only shoes, socks and a North Carolina cap before police wrestled him to the ground.

Store fronts along Franklin Street already had signs up in windows promising that championship T-shirts would be available first thing Tuesday morning following Carolina's 75-70 victory over Illinois on Monday.

"I'm so happy I can't even explain it," said 17-year-old Brandon Wilkins, one of about 10,000 fans who watched the game on a huge television screen in the Smith Center, where the Heels play home games.

Despite the loss, thousands of University of Illinois (search) fans also filled the streets near the campus in Champaign, Ill.

The crowd — estimated by police at more than 10,000 — was loud, but there were no immediate reports of major disturbances, damage or injury.

Police reported 11 arrests for charges ranging from possession of fireworks and disorderly conduct to reckless conduct. Five people were treated for minor injuries and firefighters responded to 23 calls for trash fires, said university police.

"I think a lot of people try to portray this as a riot. It's not," said Scot Zoellick, a sophomore from Crystal Lake, as he sat atop a trash can watching fellow students climb the famed Alma Mater statue at the university entrance.

"There's a lot of crowd, but I don't think in any sense we're trying to damage anything." he said. "We're just trying to celebrate the great year we've had."