Gonzaga hurt by foul trouble in 71-65 loss to North Carolina

The guard scored a game-high 22 points in Monday's win over Gonzaga, helping the Tar Heels come away with a 71-65 win in the national title game.

It was an ugly affair, filled with 44 fouls and 52 free throws but, ultimately, the contest ended with the result the Tar Heels simply had to have.

Gonzaga held its own early, but let North Carolina get some key boards late that helped the Tar Heels keep it close.

Gonzaga didn't score again, though in a game that left fans from both sides booing a spate of over-officious officiating, the game couldn't be settled without a controversial (non) call in the last minute. With 8 minutes to go, we already have 21 fouls that have been called.

They called 27 fouls in the second half and put both teams in the bonus with 13-plus minutes left. Collins, Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams and Carolina forward Kennedy Meeks all had four fouls by that point on the clock.

It's the sixth national championship for North Carolina, which also won titles in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.

The Tar Heels started the season with the stated mission of winning the championship that so barely eluded them last season. We never got to watch Kobe play in college, but I imagine this is what it would've felt like to watch him ref in college. Gonzaga, though, outrebounded North Carolina 25-23 in the half. Due to all the fouls, the game lacked rhythm for much of the second half - and made viewing hard for those at home.

But, much like their national semifinal win over OR, weathering the opponent's storm proved to be more important than just about anything else. They probably agreed when Williams cited Gonzaga as "significantly better than us in several categories".

North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks places his right hand outside of the line as Meeks and Gonzaga's Silas Melson (0) battle for a loose ball during the second half in the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Mo.

"I wanted to yell as loud as I possibly good", Jackson, who finished with 16 points, said of that play. "I think that's why when you guys asked us about him, none of us were anxious because we know how tough he is and we know as a team how important getting here and winning this game was".

After being the guy who couldn't win the big one at Kansas, Williams led North Carolina to a national championship in his second season in Chapel Hill. In the Bulldogs' defense, they scored nine points on 13 free throws in that stretch. The Tar Heels defeated the Bulldogs 71-65.

"Those were three of the best officials in the entire country, in the National Basketball Association or college". "But I really — I don't know what to say". Ideally, a glut of fouls would have opened things up for both teams, with defenders realizing they couldn't play as tightly without getting penalized.

Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga's 7-foot-1, 300-pound wall of a center, had to dance around foul trouble most of the second half as well, leaving Gonzaga unable to effectively initiate its inside-out game. The Zags lead 19-14 with 10:39 to go in the first half. When there was a break in play after North Carolina went up 70-65, Meeks ran and hugged coach Roy Williams in front of the bench.

Few and Williams spent much of this past week telling tales about how much they enjoy each other's company.

To that end, North Carolina had only two turnovers in the first half to Gonzaga's five (two of those on Berry steals).

  • Julie Sanders