UNC students and fans rush to Franklin Street after 2017 National Championship win. Photo via Steph Beckett.

UNC fans and students had lined up for hours to get into bars and restaurants on Franklin Street to be at the prime location to watch the National Championship.

The game included a night of nail-biting, with Gonzaga leading for much of  it.

But a wave of energy from the Tar Heels in the last five minutes sent even more energy through fans and students, and the Heels pulled out a win 71 to 65.

Caitlinn LaScala graduated from UNC last May, but said she had to come back this year after last year’s loss to Villanova.

A UNC fan climbs a light pole after Carolina won the 2017 National Championship. Photo via Steph Beckett.

“I think the Carolina spirit never really leaves your blood,” she said.  “Especially just being here for the game last year and how it ended, I wanted to make sure I was here for this game this year, and really be part of the Carolina community again for this experience. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”

Ben Armstrong is a student at NC State, but came to Franklin Street to watch the game at The Strowd. He said it was crazy with so many people in one place, but he wanted to show support for a North Carolina team.

“I’m an NC State fan, I’m from Raleigh, North Carolina,” he said. “But I had to come out here today to support the Heels because this was just too important to miss.”

After the game, students and fans rushed Franklin Street– climbing street lights, setting fire to couches and singing endless rounds of the Alma Mater.

This is how the national championship will be remembered, until next year.