Tar Heels get it right this time, bring home the title

Tar Heels get it right this time, bring home the title

Fittingly it was empty possessions by Gonzaga in the final minute that put the game away, as North Carolina ended the game on a 9-2 run. After the possession arrow favored North Carolina on a tie-up, Isaiah Hicks made a basket to push the lead to 68-65 with 27 seconds left.

Carolina shot 35 percent from the field, a percentage point worse than it did in Saturday's semifinal win over OR, which stood, for two days, as their worst shooting night in a tournament win since 1967.

Coach Roy Williams addresses the crowd as North Carolina basketball players and coaches greet fans in Chapel Hill, N.C., Tuesday, April 4, 2017 following Monday's win over Gonzaga in the NCAA college basketball championship. The two local players on the Gonzaga roster performed well as Williams-Goss, the former Findlay Prep star, had 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes.

Jackson, UNC's single-season record-holder for 3-pointers, missed all nine of his shots from beyond the arc while he and his teammates barely made 50 percent of the free throw attempts.

North Carolina shot 34 percent from the field in the foul-riddled championship game, Gonzaga 36 percent. That disappointment fueled the Tar Heels as they aspired to return to the Final Four, even when they were hurting.

And it was the memory of that national championship lost that drove them to do it.

"I watched all their games this year, I listened to all their press conferences, all their hilarious dance videos", said Alice Williams. "I really don't. But I know one thing, we're putting up a nice banner in the Smith Center (North Carolina's home arena) that's hard to get".

This time, there was no last-second heartbreak for North Carolina.

Redemption: Late run lifts North Carolina to NCAA title
NOTES: North Carolina appeared in its 11th national championship game, having it won it in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009. They brought steady cascades of boos from the crowd of 76,168, as fans from each side took turns protesting the whistles.

SC almost managed to complete a legendary comeback, but fell short in a close four-point loss to send Mark Few and Gonzaga to the national championship game. In the 1st Half, Gonzaga was leading by 3 (35-32).

Foul, missed free throw, foul, foul, foul, missed shot, foul, missed free throw and another foul.

The Tar Heels dodged a major bullet on their way to capturing the National Championship Monday night.

"That's probably on me".

Berry recovered from ankle injuries to lead the Tar Heels, but needed 19 shots for his 22 points.

The team came up short of the championship a year ago, falling to Villanova on a buzzer-beating three pointer by Kris Jenkins. Shooters hate the big football stadium venues, but I fear the situation won't improve as long as the NCAA prefers the solution that makes the most money. "I don't think any of us think we played our absolute best game".

Gonzaga's strength - its enormity in the post - became problematic early in the second half as well, with all three of its bigs finding themselves in serious foul trouble, though some played through it.

To be clear, there were questionable calls that went against - and benefited - both teams all night.