Twenty years later, Marcus Tony-El still feels the tension in the air from the day the RAC almost blew up.

The Seton Hall basketball forward committed a hard foul on a layup by Rutgers guard Mike Sherrod, who bounced off the post and then fell into the baseline bleachers in Section 118 (now the luxury seats). Sherrod, feeling pain from falling to the court, jumped up and took a step toward Tony-El, who was surrounded by Scarlet Knights fans.

Pirates guard John Allen and two Rutgers players rushed into the stands to protect their teammates, miraculously avoiding a full-scale fire.

“I made a play on the ball, but because it was going so hard and I was going so hard, it made it look worse than it really was,” recalls Toni-El, now a high school coach with Immaculate Conception in Montclair. “I had fans beating my chest; someone stole my headband and was waving it around. There’s just a different energy in this building.”

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