3 takeaways from Monday's NCAA championship game
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 15, 2017,
Apr 15, 2017, 16:40
Gonzaga forward Zach Collins (32) shoots over North Carolina forward Kennedy Meeks (3) during the first half in the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.
And, somehow, they got just that, beating Gonzaga, 71-65, in Monday night's national championship game here at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The basket gave UNC a five-point lead with 11 seconds remaining.
Despite the Tar heels being only 4 of 27 from 3-point land, North Carolina was able to control the painted area. Berry was named the outstanding player of the Final Four, playing on two bad ankles and bouncing back from a 2-for-14 shooting effort against OR on Saturday. 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.
North Carolina won the NCAA Men's basketball championship with a 71-65 win over Gonzaga Monday.
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. Behind some great play from Perkins who managed 13 points and two assists, Gonzaga looked good. "I came here because I wanted to be a national champion, and we finally did it".
The most crucial missed call of the game came when the refs called a jump ball on a tie-up with 49 seconds left and UNC leading by one.
"It's a very hard game to call", said Williams, who has now led the Tar Heels to three of the program's six titles.
"I mean, I'm just emotionally drained just because I put my all into this", Berry said.
During the season, he averaged 7.6 minutes per game while averaging 1.9 points per game. "I just wish we could have won two championships in a row".
During the second half, the Tar Heels came out strong again with a dunk by Kennedy Meeks.
Then the last burst went the other way, to a way long familiar in the mad sport, to North Carolina's way.
Joel Berry considered pushing past the emotion of the moment, much like he did the pain of not one, but two sprained ankles for the previous three weeks. They even formed a chat room on social media just for players and coaches to emphasize their goal for 2017.
Several of the fouls assessed to Collins were especially ticky-tacky, none more so than when he got his fourth jostling for post position away from the ball with more than 15 minutes to go. Instead the Tar Heels talked about resilience, about overcoming their own poor play. "I'm thinking our offense stinks", North Carolina head coach Roy Williams said. "Everybody was saying I was frustrated; thought I was frustrated and everything", Hicks said.
A crowd that numbered into the thousands surged onto the streets of Chapel Hill, celebrating North Carolina's victory over Gonzaga in the NCAA championship game, with seven people reportedly injured in the reveling.