LOS ANGELES - Arizona Wildcats fans streamed out of Staples Center minutes after their team's 73-70 loss to Ohio State looking like they had just played the game themselves.

Heads were shaking, parents were consoling their upset children and general exhaustion had set in. It was a great ride, a 35-game ride with 27 wins and a Sweet 16 appearance, but it was officially over.

"The way the season started, I thought Final Four or bust," UA student Mobeen Moslem said. "But, the last month and a half, two months, I didn't think we'd get this far. So, I'm happy with the result and already excited for next year. That's when I think we can really make a run."

Despite the loss, Arizona fans made their presence felt in a big way Thursday night. From a pregame pep rally across the street from the arena and non-stop "U of A" chants throughout the game, the Wildcat faithful turned out in impressive fashion.

Here are some of their stories.

Cape Man

Fan of the day honors Thursday went to UA student and Catalina High School graduate Kimon Petropoulos.

Here's why: Petropoulos, 23, drove to Los Angeles on Thursday morning with two friends. He headed back after the game because he had class and work today.

"We figured we'd drive down here eight hours and see the game and drive right back so I don't miss class on Friday," Petropoulos said.

His outfit also helped him earn fan of the day. Wearing white calf-high socks with "Cats" on both sides, Petropoulos draped an Arizona flag over his shoulders that he declared his cape. He wears it to every game.

"If you look at it closely, there's blood, there's dirt, there's everything all over it," Petropoulos said. "Five years I've been going to the UA now. I've had it and we've done good every year. I wear it every single basketball and football game."

Thursday's game was the first time Petropoulos, a Tucson native, had ever seen the Wildcats in an NCAA tournament game.

He was accompanied on the drive by Max Feinberg, a 22-year-old Catalina Foothills graduate and Trisha Hejl a 28-year-old UA student.

Furyk the fan

Jim Furyk's wife Tabitha graduated from Ohio State University. The two met in Ohio and Jim has season tickets for the Buckeyes football team.

But make no mistake: The PGA Tour star - and UA graduate - was squarely in the corner of the Wildcats on Thursday.

Furyk even attended the university's pregame pep rally at L.A. Live.

"I support the university anytime I get the chance," Furyk said. "I love being able to watch them in such an important game."

Furyk's two children, Caleigh and Tanner, were a little more conflicted.

"They're with their mom watching the Ohio State band right now," Furyk said before the game. "I decided to walk around."

Despite his pledge to the Wildcats, Furyk was wearing neutral colors. He wore a cream colored shirt and jeans with no cardinal or navy present.

Thursday's game marked Furyk's first chance to watch the Wildcats in person this year. He did catch a UA practice last month when he was in Southern Arizona for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.


Peri Jude Radecic, the executive director of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, was in Phoenix until 9 p.m., on Wednesday for work. She didn't get back to her house in Southern Arizona until 11:30.

Still, she boarded a 6 a.m., flight Thursday morning to Los Angeles to see the Wildcats' play. But since she had to be back at work today, Radecic was booked on a 9:47 p.m., flight back to Tucson after the game.

So to recap that's two flights in less than 16 hours on about four hours sleep.

For Radecic, 53, it's pretty simple: Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

"I am originally from Pittsburgh but graduated from the UA law school in 1995," Radecic said. "I've been a Wildcats fan since then.

"My mom moved out here with me and we both follow football and basketball. I love it."

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk