Charlottesville welcomes back triumphant Cavaliers after NCAA win

The Virginia Cavaliers returned home triumphant Tuesday afternoon after a Monday night win in the NCAA Tournament.

Players were welcomed by jubilant fans, who surrounded the team on both sides and cheered as they walked from their bus to the stage.

Virginia beat Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime after years of disappointment. Lines to buy Virginia championship gear were long as fans anticipated the team’s return.

“What these guys did under the bright lights was amazing. And I just felt like I was going along for the ride and they made it one of the greatest joys of my coaching career, so I’ll be forever grateful,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said to the screaming crowd as players stood behind him.

Mamadi Diakite
Mamadi Diakite holds the NCAA championship trophy as Virginia team members are welcomed by fans as they return to Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday, April 9, 2019, the day after defeating Texas Tech in the title game of college basketball’s Final Four. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
The Cavaliers received a hero’s welcome as they arrived back at U.Va. with an NCAA Tournament win Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kisti King) (AP/Steve Helber)
Waiting to welcome home the Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena: These 7-year-old cousins from Lynchburg, Virginia. Twins Charlotte and Eva Kendall, and Lawson Bendall waited on the team's arrival Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Waiting to welcome home the Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena were these 7-year-old cousins from Lynchburg, Virginia. Twins Charlotte and Eva Kendall, and Lawson Bendall waited on the team’s arrival Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Rocking the clear bag needed to go into John Paul Jones Arena are Lori O’Toole of Richmond, Virginia, and Jeanne Landis and Vickie Sandifer of Lynchburg, Virginia. UVA’s win: “is something be proud of.” (WTOP/Kristi King)
Rocking the clear bag needed to go into John Paul Jones Arena are Lori O’Toole of Richmond, Virginia, and Jeanne Landis and Vickie Sandifer of Lynchburg, Virginia. U.Va.’s win: “is something be proud of.” (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett addressed the cheering crowd after the team’s return Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
The line to get championship Virginia gear was long as fans anticipated the team's return Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Joslyn Chesson)
The line to get championship Virginia gear was long as fans anticipated the team’s return Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Joslyn Chesson) (WTOP/Joslyn Chesson)
Rosie and Charlie Spencer of Rutherford Glen, Virginia, waited excitedly to welcome the team on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Rosie and Charlie Spencer of Rutherford Glen, Virginia, waited excitedly to welcome the team on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
From Monroe, Virginia, Donna Dodd’s daughter and son-in-law are U.Va. alum from the class of ‘04. “All the games have been heart attacks,” she told WTOP. (WTOP/Kisti King) (WTOP/Kisti King)
The Cavaliers Spirit Squad led fans in a cheer while they waited for the team Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kisti King)
Tony Bennett
Virginia head coach, Tony Bennett, center, speaks to the crowd as members of the Virginia basketball team are welcomed by fans as they return home after their win of the championship in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, in Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Tony Bennett
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, greets fans as he and his team are welcomed back home after their win of the championship in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, in Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Ty Jerome
Ty Jerome and other members of the Virginia basketball team are welcomed by fans as they return home after their win of the championship in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, in Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Kyle Guy
Tournament MVP Kyle Guy adjusts his hat as he is introduced during a welcoming ceremony as he and members of the Virginia basketball team are welcomed by fans as they return home after their win of the championship in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, in Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Tony Bennett, Mamadi Dikite, Austin Katstra
Virginia head coach, Tony Bennett, right, looks to the crowd along with Mamadi Dikite, center, and Austin Katstra, left, as the team is welcomed by fans as they return home after their win of the championship in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, in Charlottesville, Va., Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Post-win jubilation at the U.Va. John Paul Jones Arena viewing party on Monday, April 8, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Virginia fans celebrate their team's win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, at an intersection near the school in Richmond, Va., Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrated their team’s win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrate their team's win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrated their team’s win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, while watching at an intersection near the University of Virginia, Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrate their teams win of the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, at a bar near the school in Richmond, Va., Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrated their teams win of the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, at a bar near the University of Virginia, Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrate their team's win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, at an intersection near the school in Richmond, Va., Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrated their team’s win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, at an intersection near the University of Virginia, Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Virginia players celebrates after defeating Texas Tech 85-77 in the overtime in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 8, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Virginia players celebrated after defeating Texas Tech 85-77 in the overtime in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 8, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash) (AP/Morry Gash)
Angelique Wynkoop  and her 12-year-old daughter, Ellie, wait to welcome home the Cavaliers Tuesday, April 10, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Angelique Wynkoop and her 12-year-old daughter, Ellie, celebrated the Cavaliers’ historic win Monday, April 8, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Maria Pike, Falls Church and Deb Micocci, Alexandria, watched the Monday night game against Texas Tech. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Zulmira Yusuf and Subi Aikebaier rushed the floor after the big victory. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Zulmira Yusuf and Subi Aikebaier rushed the floor after the big victory against Texas Tech Monday, April 8, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
Third-year Virginia studen Tiffany Perry of Laurel, Maryland is ready for the national championship. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Third-year Virginia studen Tiffany Perry of Laurel, Maryland, came ready for the Monday night game against Texas Tech. (WTOP/Kristi King) (WTOP/Kristi King)
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Mamadi Diakite
Waiting to welcome home the Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena: These 7-year-old cousins from Lynchburg, Virginia. Twins Charlotte and Eva Kendall, and Lawson Bendall waited on the team's arrival Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Rocking the clear bag needed to go into John Paul Jones Arena are Lori O’Toole of Richmond, Virginia, and Jeanne Landis and Vickie Sandifer of Lynchburg, Virginia. UVA’s win: “is something be proud of.” (WTOP/Kristi King)
The line to get championship Virginia gear was long as fans anticipated the team's return Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Joslyn Chesson)
Rosie and Charlie Spencer of Rutherford Glen, Virginia, waited excitedly to welcome the team on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Ty Jerome
Kyle Guy
Tony Bennett, Mamadi Dikite, Austin Katstra
Virginia fans celebrate their team's win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, at an intersection near the school in Richmond, Va., Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrate their team's win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrate their teams win of the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, at a bar near the school in Richmond, Va., Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia fans celebrate their team's win in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Texas Tech, at an intersection near the school in Richmond, Va., Monday, April 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Virginia players celebrates after defeating Texas Tech 85-77 in the overtime in the championship of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 8, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Angelique Wynkoop  and her 12-year-old daughter, Ellie, wait to welcome home the Cavaliers Tuesday, April 10, 2019. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Zulmira Yusuf and Subi Aikebaier rushed the floor after the big victory. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Third-year Virginia studen Tiffany Perry of Laurel, Maryland is ready for the national championship. (WTOP/Kristi King)

“The crowd in Minneapolis was amazing, you guys being here … we’re looking forward to celebrating,” Bennett said.

Fans began arriving outside John Paul Jones Arena before 4 p.m. and eagerly awaited the team’s arrival.

“I’m really excited for U.Va., the history of the team, everything,” Donna Dodd told WTOP as she waited to welcome the team back. Dodd’s daughter and son-in-law are U.Va. alumni from the class of 2004.

Hundreds of fans watched the thrilling game Monday night at the John Paul Jones Arena, and crowds spilled out onto the streets of Virginia to celebrate the team’s victory, cheering from roofs and even setting a couch on fire.

The game brought out fans from all over the region and alumni of all ages. WTOP’s Kristi King described the scene as euphoric and deafening.

Virginia finished the season with a school record of 35 wins.

WTOP’s Kristi King reported from Charlottesville.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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