Unheralded Tar Heel completed Final 4 puzzle
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 04, 2017,
Apr 04, 2017, 7:12
This time, they combined for 25.
Maye's jumper capped a wild sequence in which United Kingdom freshman guard Malik Monk hit an off-balance three-pointer with two Tar Heels in his face to tie the game at 73 with 7.2 seconds left.
Justin Jackson tallied 19 points for the Tar Heels, who meet OR on Saturday night in the national semifinals.
He made three crucial shots that eventually put the Wildcats up five, before Roy Williams called a timeout to regroup.
But North Carolina reclaimed the momentum and lead with a 13-0 scoring run and was up, 71-64, with less than a minute left. Calipari said he should have called a timeout when Monk tied the score at 73, but North Carolina quickly inbounded the ball and Maye hit the victor.
The Gators shot 0-for-14 from 3-point range in the second half after going 7-for-12 from downtown in the opening 20 minutes.
Theo Pinson brought the ball down and, in the process, allowed Maye to get free. "I didn't want it to end like that". Williams said. "He (made) some big-time plays today, big-time plays two days ago". Monk finished with 12 points. Joel Berry II added 11 points and a pair of steals, while Kennedy Meeks chipped in 7 points in addition to a whopping 17 rebounds and 4 blocks while Isaiah Hicks added 4 points and 3 rejections of his own.
Kentucky fired a desperation full-court pass to try to tie the game, but it went out of bounds.
After determining that Maye was inside theline, Kentucky (32-6) had three-tenths of a second left. The Wildcats did well to stay that close, considering that they had four starters on the bench before the half's end with two fouls apiece.
Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo cried side by side in the locker room. That was by OR in 1939, in the first NCAA tournament.
But this was just the fourth time these blue bloods have met in a regional final.
The Wildcats had defeated the Tar Heels 103-100 in Las Vegas in December.
North Carolina led by as much as 9 a couple times before both teams went into shooting slumps. SC is going for the first time.
All they've done since is knock off Marquette, Duke, Baylor and Florida, but don't dare call the Gamecocks Cinderella.
The Oregon Ducks escaped out of the Midwest region, defeating Iona, Rhode Island and MI before downing Kansas by a final score of 74-60, giving the Ducks a final four berth for the first time since 1939. "We get to keep playing". "So when he's in there, I think that really helps us".
Saturday featured the first two games to decide the first entrants into Final Four competition. There were five lead changes, five ties and neither team ever led by double digits.