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No sunshine for Florida fans

Gators' supporters calmly watch disappointing ending

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Posted: Tuesday April 04, 2000 01:06 AM

  Florida students watch the national championship game at "The Swamp", a popular bar in Gainesville, as their Gators lose to Michigan State. AP

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida fan Zara Cohen had a horrible night. So did the Gators.

"I was extremely disgusted in our basketball team, but I will always be a Gator," Cohen, 20, a theater major from Boca Raton, Fla., said Monday night after Florida's 89-76 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA basketball championship game in Indianapolis.

Cohen and thousands of others fans crowded into the Swamp, an indoor-outdoor bar near the campus.

David Fordham, 21, a senior in electrical engineering from St. Petersburg, said the Gators played well for a young team.

"We're going to get much better," he said. "I'm proud of our team."

"Win or lose, it's all about having a good time," said Paco Dalman, 21, a mechanical engineering student from Orlando.

Keith Kameg, a spokesman for the Gainesville Police Department, said the crowd behaved and police had made no arrests.

"The fact that they lost helped us a lot," Kameg said as students poured out of the area bars into the streets.

When the Gators beat North Carolina 71-59 in the semifinals Saturday night, hundreds of partying students closed University Avenue. Many headed for Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to tear down the football goal posts, only to be shooed away by police.

An additional 75 police officers were assigned to patrol streets around campus, primarily along the strip of restaurants and bars nearby. The school also removed the goal posts as a precaution.

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Gators eaten up by mistakes, inexperience
Unsung hero gives Michigan State unexpected lift
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