North Carolina Gets Its Own Buzzer-Beater, And A Chance At Redemption
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 08, 2017,
Apr 08, 2017, 12:19
Maye's heroics came seconds after Kentucky's Malik Monk hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 73 with 7.2 seconds left. The Tar Heels now head to take on the No. 3 seeded Oregon Ducks (33-5) on April 1 for a chance to head to the championship game. Ugly shots by Derek Willis, on an unnecessary three point attempt, De'Aaron Fox had questionable jumper shot, and Malik Monk had both a awful turnover and bad three point attempt.
Theo Pinson, responsible for his share of silliness earlier in the game, came down the court and passed to the open Maye when the road to a layup suddenly closed on him. They out-played us, but I am proud of these guys. Williams said. "He [made] some big-time plays today, big-time plays two days ago". Justin Jackson leads the way with 11 points.
Youth and talent had taken second-seeded Kentucky (32-6) to this point.
Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox and Isaac Humphries rounded out the five-man team.
The Wildcats had hoped their talented freshmen would carry them.
Fox and Bam Adebayo each scored 13 points to lead five Wildcats in double figures.
Joel Berry, who's suffered multiple ankle sprains over the last two weeks, has played through pain and adversity in order to give the Tar Heels their best opportunity to stave off elimination and advance beyond the tournament's first two weekends.
This year, the Final Four features two teams from the west coast, Gonzaga and OR, and two from the east coast, North and SC.
This time, UNC avenged its loss from December and punched a ticket in its second straight Final Four. Fox played only 8 minutes of the first half after picking up his second foul with 12:23 left. Adebayo easily was the most frustrated as he missed all five shots in the half with Kennedy Meeks swatting away one of his attempted dunks. It was a miracle United Kingdom only trailed 38-33 at the half. In one stretch after halftime, Maye connected on a 3-pointer, an old-fashioned 3-point play, and another bucket when the Heels were struggling to score.
Neither Kentucky nor Florida reached what would have been its program's fifth Final Four in this century. SC will face off against Gonzaga in the first game at 6:09 p.m. (ET).
Gonzaga and SC will face each other in a battle of rookies to the Final Four. Coach Roy Williams improved to 9-4 in regional finals overall and 5-3 at North Carolina. Monk and Humphries added 12 apiece, and Dominique Hawkins hit for 10 points. Totals 27-65 12-19 73. Malik Monk, who struggled shooting most of the day, knocked down a three to cut the lead to one.
The victory also combats North Carolina's recent struggles against Kentucky. Assists-Kentucky 16 (Briscoe 8), North Carolina 17 (Jackson 4). Coincidentally, Kentucky is averaging the same total.