By ALYSSA CLIFTON
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The excitement of the Mules basketball team taking home the NCAA Division II Championship echoed through Warrensburg Saturday night as fans honked their horns and chanted in the streets.
The Mules beat West Liberty 84-77 in Evansville, Ind., to win the title. This is UCM’s second NCAA men’s national basketball championship. The last time they won was 30 years ago.
Sophomore Dysha Lightener said she is honored to be a fan.
“I am very, very proud of them,” she said.
A rally was set to begin at 11 p.m. Saturday to welcome home the team as they got off the bus. However, the bus broke down during the more than six-hour trip, pushing the rally back to almost 1:30 a.m. However, the late timing did not stop fans from celebrating — students, friends, family and community members still assembled together when the bus finally arrived at the Multipurpose Building.
Freshman Marquita Edwards said she wanted to be there to support the team when they arrived.
“We wanted to congratulate the team for their win,” she said.
Pine Street was also packed with fans watching the game and coming together to support their team.
“There was a lot of people out,” said Edwards, who watched the game at Heroes. “You could hear a lot of people chanting down on Pine.”
Police were spotted all over town to ensure the safety of fans.
Lightener said she thinks this championship is good for the university. She said winning the title may attract more students and bring more positive attention to UCM in general.
“It’s good for the outlook of the school,” Lightener said.
A parade is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday starting at the corner of Ming and Holden streets, and will travel south on Holden to Houx Street, then west to Washington Street, and north to the Multipurpose Building. There will be a pep rally following the parade beginning at 6 p.m. in the Multipurpose Building.