WESTWOOD (CBSLA) — Other than the 10-hour line, everything seemed normal to UCLA senior Garland Horwitz as he waited to enter Pauley Pavilion to watch the highly anticipated matchup between UCLA and Villanova — both ranked among the top 5 best college basketball teams in the country.
However, as tip-off approached, a combination of an impatient crowd and a malfunctioning app began to create a scene resembling the deadly crowd surge at the Astroworld music festival.
"We were all very scared because it was people pushing us from behind," said UCLA senior Garland Horwitz. "It was nerve-racking."
Fortunately, unlike the deadly crowd surge during rapper Travis Scott's set at the Astroworld Festival which left nine people dead, no one was injured outside Pauley Pavilion. However, it made UCLA officials aware of the challenges facing them in other potentially sold-out and highly anticipated games.
"Thank you to all who attended tonight's basketball game," tweeted Athletic Director Martin Jarmond early Saturday morning. "I'm aware of challenges some had with the line to get into the game. We were not adequately staffed to handle the turnout. I apologize and it will be corrected moving forward."
According to students, many of whom waited in line for several hours, trouble started when the ticketing app which includes vaccine verification began to malfunction and some groups began to cut the line.
"For me, the app malfunctioned a couple of times," said UCLA first-year student Laine Ford, who waited in line for eight hours. "I had to log out and log back in."
As many grew more impatient and with not enough staff to corral those waiting, the crowd began to push and shove to make it into the stadium as the game began.
"There was a little bit of pushing and shoving," said journalist Sam Connon. "People funneling in instead of staying in two orderly lines and after that it sort of devolved."
According to the official box score which lists the attendance, this was the first sold-out game of the season, with 13,659 people in attendance. All previous games had less than 6,000 attendees.
UCLA's next matchup is at home against Long Beach State on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.
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