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April 26 2017, 07:53 | Van Peters
North Carolina defeats Gonzaga for redemption in national championship
North Carolina won 71-65.
Just a year removed from Villanova's buzzer beating victory over North Carolina, the 2017 Men's National Championship game featured one seeds North Carolina and Gonzaga.
"We won in '05 and they invited us in September when they were doing a lot of teams", the Hall of Fame coach said.
"The type of player that we know he is, we pretty much knew it wasn't going to affect him", forward Justin Jackson said.
Gonzaga (37-2) missed nine consecutive shots in the second half and went 8:27 without a basket, but North Carolina (33-7) didn't have the offense to deliver a decisive run as it remained a one-possession game for nearly all of the second half in a battle of No. 1 seeds.
MVP Joel Berry had 22 points with six assists, three rebounds and two steals to lead the Tar Heels to victory. "I think that's why when you guys asked us about him, none of us were anxious because we know how tough he is and we know as a team how important getting here and winning this game was". "We came out and competed down to the last seconds but we're national champions now". Gonzaga shot 33.9 percent. But Nigel Williams-Goss' shot was blocked by Meeks, which led to a fast break in the other direction and an easy dunk for Justin Jackson. With just 21 seconds left Hicks hit a big shot for UNC putting them up by three before Kennedy Meeks put together two of the greatest defensive plays of his college career. "The kid is a flat out victor".
Seldom in life do we get what we actually desperately want.
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams is interviewed as his team celebrate after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. His backup, Zach Collins, played just 14 minutes and fouled out with 5:03 to play. It wasn't over yet, but it sure started to feel real. Jackson went 0-9 from three but still finished with 16 points. There were 27 fouls called in the second half, compared to 17 in the first.
Former Lake Highland Prep great Joel Berry II limped into Monday night's NCAA basketball championship game with two swollen ankles and some analysts suggesting his reduced mobility could hinder North Carolina's chances against agile Gonzaga.
"It was insane because I was thinking like would he (the ref) have called a foul on the dude trying to grab Joel, but he got it away quick enough".
Karnowski struggled against North Carolina's length, missing numerous shots at the rim to finish with nine points on 1-of-8 shooting. He scored his team's last eight points, and it took some very good defense by North Carolina to prevent him from being the hero. He has been mum about his future, but it seems unlikely that he would have sat out an entire season to play only one season with the Zags. However, since they couldn't overturn that foul call, they went back and called a flagrant foul on Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski, for accidentally slapping Berry across the face. You still have to officiate the game of basketball, and that's what they did.