Meeks Scores 25 To Help Propel North Carolina To National Title Game
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 03, 2017,
Apr 03, 2017, 2:22
North Carolina built its lead to as much as 10 points behind Meeks' 3-point play halfway through the second that sent the score to 66-56. A dreary, formless national semifinal with OR had wound its way into something oddly stirring. But facing a Gonzaga club which shot 48 percent in their victory over SC, the Tar Heels need to be better. Their 77-76 win over a band of Ducks that couldn't shoot well but kept trying will be remembered for its clunky closing sequence.
"Oh, jump off the building", he said. So it was no surprise that OR received some harsh treatment on Twitter after losing 77-76 to North Carolina on Saturday, watching the game slip away after the Tar Heels grabbed consecutive offensive rebounds following free throw misses.
Kennedy Meeks, their huge big man who had an vast game, missed two with 5.8 seconds left.
Up next to the line was junior guard Joel Berry II, who gave into the nerves and missed both shots.
On both occasions, something weird happened. The other semifinal, between North Carolina and OR, starts at approximately 8:49 p.m. ET.
"I always said if I ever was to play basketball or pursue basketball, the only way is if I had an offer from UNC to play basketball", Beckham said. North Carolina's Theo Pinson took back grabbed the long rebound, so the Ducks fouled again.
"Nobody wins a game like that", Pinson said. "I thought we had a big advantage inside. But it was definitely the weirdest game".
Kennedy Meeks continued his NCAA Tournament dominance, matching his career-high with 25 points on 11-of-13 shooting and grabbing 14 rebounds, while ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson added 22 points, scoring 13 after halftime. More evocatively, they will return to the stage of their Villanova nightmare, even if it will be a desert football stadium rather than a Texas football stadium, and even if it will happen against a private Pacific Northwest university of 7,572 students rather than a private Philadelphia university of 10,000.
Waiting for them were fiery Frank Martin and the big-game Gamecocks - and they took them head on for a tense 40 minutes. The Ducks went 3 for 18 from three-point range in the second half and had a stretch of almost six minutes late where they did not make a shot from the floor. Point guard Joel Berry is the heart and soul of this team, and when he is not on the floor, the Tar Heels are a completely different, and beatable team. He wound up on a shiny 11 for 13, and he spiced the work with 14 rebounds, only three fewer than the bonanza to which he had treated Kentucky.
Tyler Dorsey led OR with 21 points but scored more from the free-throw line (12) than from three-point range (9), where he came in shooting 65 percent in the tournament. "We just got to play the game and execute".
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey). South Carolina's Chris Silva (30) and Sindarius Thornwell (0) block a shot by Gonzaga's Zach Collins (32) during the second half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 1, 2017, . "People can tell me whatever they want, but I lost the game for us". One of them was important - a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to bring OR within three points - but not enough.
In that mission, they had more nuisance against the 33-6 Pacific-12 Conference champion.
The North Carolina players have walked the fine line this season between the natural inclination to dwell on the painful loss, and the impossible task of forgetting it.