The win inside fired the Blue Devils' confidence, and the students outside fired up the benches.
Main West Quadrangle erupted into flames late Wednesday night as several thousand Cameron Crazies - some of whom had braved the cold, rain and snow out in Krzyzewskiville for as many as six weeks - celebrated the struggling Blue Devils' much-needed victory over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In total, at least nine benches were sacrificed to the basketball gods in one of the most controlled celebratory bonfires in recent years. Officials reported no arrests or injuries as of 1 a.m.
At 11:25 p.m., the House C bench was the first to go. A few minutes later, the "Divas" bench followed it and by 11:30 a third had been added. "I've always hated that f---ing Divas bench," said one reveler.
House O's unpainted bench was poised to quickly become the fourth, but was halted at the perimeter of the bonfire for a few minutes
Fans waiting impatiently for more benches to be added reflected on the game, which included a strong second-half comeback by the Blue Devils- who had dropped three of their last four conference games - to beat their Tobacco Road rival Tar Heels.
"[Chris] Duhon came on clutch there for about two minutes," one Crazie said of the junior point guard who notched 12 points and 10 assists despite being removed from the starting lineup by coach Mike Krzyzewski.
"He was finally able to get his head in the game," a friend agreed.
Many of those lucky - or crazy - enough to get into Cameron recounted for those only able to watch on television the sight of the blue streaker who raced across the court naked during a timeout with 24 seconds remaining in the first half.
"I thought, 'What is that guy doing?'" said one wristband-holder. "And I was like, wait a minute - I see a butt crack."
A fifth bench was finally tossed on around 11:45, and three more were added during a midnight rally. Alpha Tau Omega fraternity pledges capped the evening by stealing Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity's bench, narrowly squeezing it through the Craven Quad archway and launching it into the fire despite PiKA brothers' protests.
The inevitable crowd chanting was relatively subdued this year with only a few renditions of "Go To Hell Carolina, Go To Hell" and several meager attempts at "D-U-K-E, who the...." Random offerings to the bonfire - which in the past have included everything from computers to dorm desks - were almost nonexistent. Another streaker and two girls cooking hotdogs on sticks were the only other highlights.
"It's a Wednesday night," said an A-Team member.
But revelers partied late into the school night.
"I've been out in K-ville since Jan. 5 and it was so worth it," said one tenter. "I'm just so happy right now.
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