BOCA RATON, Fla. - Students turned to tradition on Thursday evening to take their minds off the gunman who forced their campus to be shut down earlier in the afternoon.
They coalesced around their basketball team, who took on the University of Southern Alabama at FAU's arena, The Owl's Nest.
FAU officials say they would have had to cancel the game if the lockdown went on long enough, but since it was lifted at around 4 p.m., it never came to that.
Chelsey Hadrick says she needed the relief that sports bring.
"Since the guy hasn't been captured yet, me and my friend walked over here, we were still on our toes," said Hadrick, an FAU senior.
After an afternoon of captivity in dorm rooms and classrooms, it felt good to root for the school that spent the day in the wrong kind of spotlight.
"Today was just a weird day. We both were locked in our room for four hours. It definitely brings back a sense of normal," said FAU sophomore cheerleader Shea Sterner.
Students Thursday night were clutching their cell phones.
That's nothing unusual, except when they got urgent messages on them from school administration, advising them they were under code red and to stay inside.
FAU's president was at the game too and says the event built trust.
"We showed the alert system that we put into place was appropriate. We got alerts on time. They got updates on time. Our concern was for their safety. I feel very proud we did that," said president Mary Jane Saunders.
Students agree, saying the incident - however uncertain and even scary - brought campus together.
"We know they're going to do their best to get this guy and do whatever they can to solve the situation. It's a really nice feeling," said sophomore Kaylan Figueroa.
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