Champions! The UNC Tar Heels Win The 2016-2017 NCAA Basketball Championship
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 11, 2017,
Apr 11, 2017, 6:00
Monday night's national title game was expected to be a fast-paced, competitive showcase for North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, two of the best players in college this season. He made the free throw, and that 3-point play gave the Tar Heels a 66-65 lead. He seemingly hung in mid-air for a couple seconds, then pushed the ball off the backboard and in with 21.9 seconds left.
Some videos of the celebration that were posted on social media captured the rowdy scene.
North Carolina basketball's sixth national championship was far from pretty.
North Carolina junior guard Joel Berry II led the team in scoring, dropping 22 points on 7-of-19 shooting, including draining 4-of-13 shots from long range. "I had no idea", Gonzaga coach Mark Few said when he was told about the no-call after the game.
The Zags' trip to Glendale, Arizona, was their first appearance in the Final Four, one of the last major milestones that had eluded the program. "And I tried to be more positive and I told them, a year ago we were ahead at halftime and the other team came out more focused than we did".
Hicks stood closer than any of his teammates to Villanova's confetti-drenched celebration immediately after Kris Jenkins' 3-pointer splashed through the net to end last year's national championship game. Somehow, Collins was the only player to foul out.
Few, both a coaching and card-playing buddy of Williams, might be tempted to give Ol' Roy a call and ask him how he did it.
"When I looked up at one of the [video] boards [Monday] night and saw those guys, they had more titles than our North Carolina teams had, not Roy Williams, because I don't like it that way", Williams said, "but that was a little emotional for a second". "We broke that glass ceiling everybody said we couldn't get over". Jackson, one of the best players in college basketball all year, finished the first half 3-of-10 from the field and went 0-for-6 from three-point land. Moments later, Williams-Goss twisted an ankle and could not elevate for a jumper that would've given the Bulldogs the lead. I'm doing what I've always wanted to do, which is to coach kids and trying to get them to have a common goal and make sacrifices.
A steal led to a layup for Berry, and two free-throws by Jackson had the Tar Heels in the lead 35 seconds into the second half.
The play ended up being important, but Gonzaga could point in many directions for blame (in fact, some blame rests on that possession itself - why didn't Melson simply grab the loose ball in front of him instead of hovering over it?). North Carolina defeated Gonzaga 71-65. I men's national championship game. "He was really fighting through all the injuries he had through these previous games you know he really came out and played his heart out and that's what we needed".