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Fans soak in Arizona’s victory over Utah

Citizen Staff Writer



Fueled by beer and margaritas, Wildcat fans shouted in jubilation at the University of Arizona men’s basketball team’s triumph in its first contest in the 2009 NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Fans gathered at the side-by-side Frog N Firkin and No Anchovies! on University Boulevard, near the Main Gate, to watch the game on television from the restaurants’ patios.

With six minutes left in the game, fans started to scream as the Utah Utes tried to take the ball from the Wildcats as the Cats led 84-71.

“U of A, U of A,” fans shouted each time the Cats scored in the final minutes.

Vinay Gunnala, 26, a second-year UA medical student from Phoenix, said UA’s seven-game winning streak earlier in the season showed “we know we can reach that (NCAA Tournament) level.”

His friend, UA second-year MBA student Eric Woodin, 28, said UA “deserves to be” in the tournament.

After the game, Gunnala said the UA win in Miami “is proof to me and to the Cats that they’re living, not just staying alive.”

“A 12th seed beat a fifth seed,” he said. “Vegas had us plus one as a favorite to win.”

Arizona State University graduate Rachel Rosen, a high school teacher from Phoenix, came down to cheer on the Wildcats with her childhood friend Julie Augenstein, a second-year UA medical student and Phoenix native.

David Buck, a pharmacist at a local hospital, showed up to cheer on the Wildcats with other UA hoop fans at No Anchovies!.

He said he’s been an Arizona fan since he moved to Tucson from Indiana in 1984.

Alicia Cordova, who is 6, sat with her father, Fabian Cordova, in her kid-size UA cheerleader uniform, with red and blue ribbons in her hair.

“She picked Pittsburgh to beat Arizona” in the title game, said Cordova’s fiancĂ©e, Stephanie Marcum. She and Cordova are UA MBA students.

“Her dad’s a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan,” Marcum said.

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