University of Arizona basketball fans riot after NCAA tournament loss

PHOENIX, Arizona (Reuters) - Basketball fans went on a rampage, lobbing bottles and firecrackers, outside the University of Arizona after the school's team narrowly lost to the University of Wisconsin in an NCAA tournament game, police said on Sunday.

Tucson police in riot gear used pepper spray on the unruly crowd late on Saturday and arrested 15 people on charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and unlawful assembly, a police statement said.

Three of those arrested suffered minor injuries, police said. Rioters threw bottles and other objects at police and their vehicles but no officers were hurt.

Police said hundreds of people filled the streets near the school after the game, but it was not clear how many were involved in the melee.

The Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Arizona Wildcats 64-63 in overtime at the National Collegiate Athletic Association men's tournament game.

The university said in a statement the fans' behavior was "disappointing."

"Our basketball team had a great season and they exhibited exceptional class at every turn," said Kendal Washington White, dean of students. "They do not deserve the bad actions of these others."

The university and police said they were talking to determine whether any of those arrested were students. White said any student found to be involved would face punishment.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Frances Kerry)

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