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At least 30 arrested after Louisville NCAA basketball victory

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - At least 30 people were arrested and a police officer sustained a head injury when a celebration of the University of Louisville's national collegiate basketball victory Monday night got out of hand, police said Tuesday.

Those arrested faced a variety of charges, primarily disorderly conduct and alcohol-related offenses, according to Officer Carey Klain, spokeswoman for the Louisville Police Department.

The men's basketball team, the Cardinals, beat the University of Michigan 82-76 in the NCAA Division I championship game Monday night. While most of the thousands of fans in the area around the campus celebrated peacefully, some rowdy fans had to be subdued, according to university spokesman John Drees.

Overhead cameras showed that a woman appeared to have stripped off her clothes, and police went into the crowd to arrest her. She was not found, but the crowd got rough, and two officers were knocked down, Drees said.

"The police then decided it was time to disperse the crowd and they brought out the pepper spray," Drees said. But the crowd still refused to leave and started throwing beer bottles at the police. One officer suffered a head injury from being hit in the back of the head.

He was released from a hospital Tuesday morning. Other officers suffered cuts and bruises and were treated at the scene.

Police also reported that guns were fired into the air, a mattress was set on fire and roads were blocked by unruly fans. Some small trees were destroyed by students who climbed into them, Drees said.

The Louisville women's basketball team is facing the University of Connecticut in New Orleans on Tuesday for the NCAA Division I championship. If it wins, officials expect another celebration in Louisville. Police cautioned that disorderly conduct and unlawful use of firearms would not be tolerated.

"We're excited about the possibility of bringing home two championships," said Drees. "The women get great support. We do expect to have some crowd and have some celebration."

Coach Rick Pitino of the men's team quietly arrived back in town Tuesday afternoon. A parade may be held in the near future, according to Drees.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni; Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Greg McCune and Steve Orlofsky)

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