A lot of N.C. State students and fans, having watched the Wolfpack upset North Carolina 95-91 on Saturday, had the same postgame thought:
Head to the Belltower.
NCSU’s Belltower on campus is the place to be after big Pack victories and hundreds gathered Saturday. Another part of the celebration process has been the team buses stopping by for a few minutes to join in the fun, and so it was again Saturday.
“We knew the team had to make the journey here and we wanted to be here when the team got here,” NCSU student Caroline Davis said.
Davis said she has some doubts about Saturday’s game. It was at UNC, where the Pack took a 51-point beating last year. North Carolina was ranked 10th.
“I was worried about us being on the road,” she said. “We crack under pressure on the road.”
But the Pack, coming off a comeback road win at Pittsburgh on Thursday, handled the road pressure well Saturday as NCSU coach Kevin Keatts won his first game against the Wolfpack’s biggest rival.
Keatts and the Pack already had a win this season over Duke and Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. Now, it’s UNC and Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.
“It’s a fresh start,” NCSU student Claire Devereaux said of the program.
While waiting for the team, Wolfpack fans did the wave. They broke into the school fight song. They cheered passing cars filled with Pack fans and honking horns, and booed a man spotted wearing a Carolina blue jacket on Hillsborough St.
Then, blue lights. The team buses, with a police escort, slowly pulled up at the curb next to Belltower.
A chant began: “Keatts! Keatts! Keatts!”
The Wolfpack players emerged from the first bus, beaming, using their own cell phones to capture the moment. Then out came Keatts, who waved and smiled.
Keatts only had one thing to say to the crowd: “Ice cream!”
That’s become the new thing for Keatts and the Pack. Win a game, celebrate with ice cream.
On this day, it was probably Howling Cow. Any why not? That’s N.C. State’s own ice cream.