Chapter 8

A Campus Erupts

Back home on the Lehigh campus, everyone, it seems, was celebrating.

Haas: The team was very excited in the locker room after the game, clearly. They were hugging. ... Some people were doing media interviews with ESPN and sort of national publications. But there were some players who were sitting in their locker, and they were on their phone and they saw what was going on on campus, due to social media. So they knew immediately the celebration that was happening around campus. So there was that instant feedback, and they thought that was pretty cool.

Coach Brett Reed being interviewed
Press conference with Lehigh basketball team
C.J. McCollum being interviewed after game

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: With the game attracting 8.4 million viewers, Coach Reed and the Lehigh players became media sensations after the upset. “Lehigh” also was the top Google search for 24 hours.

Shupp: As soon as it was down to the final minute of the game, I was already on the phone with my supervisors at Lehigh, as well as the [then] city of Bethlehem Police Commissioner Jason Schiffer. Happy for Lehigh, happy for the team, but I don't want to tarnish the image of the school and what the team has just accomplished by having negative things occur back on campus. So [I told my officers], "Let's give students some room to celebrate and enjoy themselves without being destructive in any way."

The students were spilling out from just about everywhere. A third of our students live off campus. There were a lot at local bars, watching the game. Lamberton [Hall] had a viewing. There were a lot of students down in the area of Morton Street, Adams and those areas. Most of the celebrating went on close to 12:30, 1 o'clock in the morning. It turned out to be a win-win for everybody, for our team, for the university and for our students, for as well-behaved as they were.

Emily Flanagan '12, was watching the game at a friend's house on S. Fifth Street, Bethlehem: As soon as Lehigh won, we just heard all these people cheering and honking in the street, running around and just yelling, "Go Lehigh!" It was a really, really fun environment, all over campus.

We went to the UC lawn, where there was sort of an impromptu celebration. There were so many people there. It was packed. There was music, everybody was just celebrating and cheering and singing the fight song.

Many were celebrating in North Carolina, too.

Shupp: I wish I would have been smarter and brought some Lehigh shirts with me because I was offered $100, $150 for the shirt off my back, from the North Carolina fans, right after the game. I didn't pay for a drink for the rest of the night. [He laughs.] We were in Tar Heel territory, and everybody hates Duke. The team was applauded everywhere. Everything was pro-Lehigh because you knocked off one of their arch-nemeses.

Haas: [Lehigh's] athletic website was up 10 times [in hits] what it normally would be. We were the number one search term on Google during that time frame. And part of that was we were in the 7 o'clock time slot on CBS, because it was Duke. So playing Duke actually gave us more eyeballs on the game; 8.4 million people watched the game. That was a benefit of being at a game with Duke—you're going to get more eyeballs on your school and that resulted in being the top search term on Google for 24 hours. Meanwhile, back in the locker room, it was all business.

Greiner: C.J. walked in, and he quieted everyone down. He said, "Are y'all done? You done? You happy now? You happy with this win, or do you want to keep going?" We had just beaten Duke, and he's not even thinking about that, he's thinking about the next one.

Reed: The most enjoyable moment that I had was recognizing and addressing the crowd [immediately after the game], because when I went back into the locker room, I had to figure out how to manage this emotion, because we had to play again in 48 hours. And there's media responsibilities. ... Then I'm watching the two teams that we might play next. It wasn't until I went back to the hotel, and I was with my wife in the hotel, we watched a little bit of SportsCenter and we said, "Oh, this is for real." The first moment that I really had a chance to stop and absorb it and be reflective was after our pre-game meal, on Sunday, before we played Xavier. Everything prior to that moment was trying to get ready for Xavier. At that point we had gotten everything ready, and it was the most that we could do. My dad had a saying, "The hay's in the barn." At that point, I had watched the film, we had delivered the messages to our team. We had done everything that we could do. Lehigh became the first-ever No. 15 seed to lead its Round of 32 game at halftime but fell short against Xavier, 70-58.

Lehigh became the first-ever No. 15 seed to lead its Round of 32 game at halftime but fell short against Xavier, 70-58. The team then headed back to Bethlehem, where their fans awaited.