North Carolina returns home to celebrate 6th NCAA title

It was never a handsome, glorious game, but a foul-ridden, drag-out, physical game that seemed to show just how badly both the Tar Heels (33-7) and the Bulldogs (37-2) wanted to win, and how exhausted both teams were.

Against Gonzaga, Berry had the biggest game of his career, considering the moment.

And not just because of previous year.

But the Zags rolled through the West Coast Conference tournament and then beat South Dakota State, Northwestern, West Virginia, Xavier and SC in the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga used its second timeout in about a minutes with 21.9 seconds left, but Meeks shut down Williams-Goss' last attempt to score more than his 15 total points.

Monday, after his Tar Heels defeated Gonzaga 71-65 at University of Phoenix Stadium to secure that elusive title, Williams was just as noncommittal when posed with the question again.

Roy Williams summed up that stat line bluntly: "He had stunk it up for the last couple of weeks most of the time". Freshman big man Tony Bradley also told The Associated Press after the Monday night win that he was "100 percent" going to test the waters and didn't rule out hiring an agent, saying he "might not" be back. Hicks found himself with the ball and North Carolina draining clock holding a one-point lead over Gonzaga and less than 30 seconds remaining. He drove to his right, cupped it his right hand and stretched his arm toward the basket.

The biggest offseason loss is likely to be Karnowski, the big-bearded fifth-year senior who became the face of the Zags. It's unclear if point guard Joel Berry II (14.7 points) will go the same route.

"I knocked the second one in and then I was running down the court and I was crying". I don't know which country. "You got to thank God in these situations, because he definitely was with us the whole way". They whistled 27 fouls in the second half alone.

Karnowski would pick up his fourth on a flagrant with 8:02 to play while Collins would foul out with five minutes still to play.

"We did a lot of things that people didn't expect us to do", Williams-Goss said. "But the national championship game, it's only one". He wasn't going to let a little foul trouble cut short the best game he's had in weeks. The Bulldogs put up quite a fight, keeping the game close till the very end.

"I know that we did nothing wrong". Blame the players for shooting a combined 34 percent from the field, but I imagine it's hard to get into much of a rhythm when a foul is getting called at a rate of a couple of times per minute. But that bucket and his determination to overcome his struggles provided enough redemption to last a lifetime.

"I don't think I should be mentioned in the same sentence as him", Williams said. But the last three or four years have been very hard.

  • Julie Sanders