DUNK CITY — Two bouncers stood outside Uptown Larry's, a popular FGCU bar, with arms crossed.
"We're sorry," one said. "We can't let anyone in until after the FGCU game."
They weren't joking -- the bar was already at capacity when the bouncers arrived at 6:30 p.m. One suggested to a patron that she should have arrived at 4.
"No way," said a student as his group walked back to the parking lot. "No way."
A car in the parking lot had its windows painted in shades of white, green and blue for the occasion.
"#EAGLE PRIDE," one side read. "#F--- THE GATORS," read the other.
Looking for a restroom at Miller's Ale House
In an alley outside Miller's Ale House in Gulf Coast Town Center, there are hundreds of FGCU fans. Two portable toilets.
Anticipating a crowd, the restaurant had set up a giant TV screen and sets of bleachers, all of which are full.
As students sipped their beers, a line began forming for the portable stalls.
"Let's go somewhere else," a girl said to her friend. "I don't wanna go here."
FGCU fans confident at Gulf Coast Town Center
FGCU fans snagged lawn seats early in front of a projection screen sandwiched between sushi restaurant Blu and Bar Louie in the Gulf Coast Town Center.
"We are GOING to win," a woman with a temporary FGCU face tattoo told a TV crew. "We are going to win, OK?"
Between bass-thumping club music, B103.9 radio host made an announcement to those at Blu minutes before tip off.
"One last thing - we're gonna have a contest to see who has the best FGCU tattoo," said Big Mama, who himself got inked after telling listeners he'd do so if the Eagles made it through the first round. "I think I'm gonna win."
Crickets on campus
Less than two miles from the hullabaloo of the Gulf Coast Town Center is the entrance to FGCU.
After tip off, few cars drove through campus. Those that did flashed their lights at stop signs as a courtesy to other students: You go ahead.
A lone police car circled FGCU Boulevard.
Standing still in the 62 degree night, there was but one sound: crickets.
Fans glued to game at Beef 'O' Brady's
Second half. Beef 'O' Brady's. An older scene than the college bars.
The ponytailed bartender wore a neon yellow shirt. GAME TONIGHT, the back of the shirt read, as if there was someone that did not know.
On TV, the Eagles missed a shot, the ball thunking on the backboard.
"Awwwww," said a bespectacled man at the bar, smacking his hand to the bar.
Not 45 seconds later, FGCU landed a basket.
"Yea-uhhhhhh," the man said.
Losing with grace
With five minutes left in the game, viewers at an Estero Beef 'O' Brady's grew tense.
Florida led 50-41 with 3:57 left. A man in cowboy boots and a shirt left unbuttoned at the top began to shout advice.
"They need to take him off."
"Don't dribble it!"
"Ya need to pass it," he said to no one in particular, as if hoping somehow the players on TV would hear him.
The crowd filed out slowly at the final defeat. A single Florida fan -- a child in an orange and blue sweatshirt -- did the Gator chomp.
A 12-foot screen in the parking lot was dismantled almost immediately after the loss.
FGCU fans said they were still proud.
"I mean, it's a great achievement," said Rey Muradaz, who said he was new to Southwest Florida. "The program hasn't been around that long."
Other fans agreed.
"They came a long way. They definitely need to keep their heads up," said Estero resident Kathy Stegemann.
She looks at the bright side.
"At least we got a Florida team in there," she said.