Redemption: Tar Heels take NCAA title, 71-65, over Gonzaga

Associated Press
North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks has struggled in the NCAA Tournament

Associated Press North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks has struggled in the NCAA Tournament

It's OK, Carolina, you can open your eyes. The game was a defensive affair full of fouls, and Gonzaga actually went 8:27 without making a field goal at one point in the second half, yet managed to stay close to the Tar Heels.

With North Carolina leading Gonzaga by three inside the final 20 seconds Monday night, Kennedy Meeks blocked a shot by Nigel Williams-Goss to help the Tar Heels stave off the Bulldogs 71-65 for the program's sixth national championship and avenge last season's loss in the title game.

The Tar Heels were in the title game a year ago and lost on a buzzer-beater to Villanova.

"I wanted to see the confetti fall on us", Berry said. "And we were able to come out with the win". "That was the last couple of craziest seconds of my life because I had flash backs to previous year", UNC Student Anna Morrison said.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams came to the referees defense following the contest.

The Tar Heels followed a terrible-shooting night in the semifinal with an equally ice-cold performance in the final - going 4-for-27 from 3-point land. Moments later, Williams-Goss twisted an ankle and could not elevate for a jumper that would've given the Bulldogs the lead.

Williams got his third title, putting him one ahead of his mentor, Dean Smith, and behind only John Wooden, Adolph Rupp and Mike Krzyzewski.

"Probably on me", said Gonzaga coach Mark Few, whose first knowledge of the call came in the postgame press conference. "I've got three because of these guys right here".

The UNC fans are gone from University of Phoenix stadium, but the elation lingers in the dry Arizona air after the Tar Heels National Championship win.

Thank goodness for free throws. Somehow, Collins was the only player to foul out. As a result, there were 52 total free throws, 26 for each team.

The start of the second half went about as poorly as possible for Gonzaga.

"It's tainted, and it's likely to get ripped from the record books by the NCAA cops.The Tar Heels couldn't shoot, for instance". It appears Kennedy Meeks hand was out of bounds when he was jockeying for the ball.

"Everybody still had faith in me", Hicks said. Thats tough to hear.”.

"We broke the glass ceiling everyone said we couldn't break", Johnathan Williams said.

"The ball didn't go in for me the other night, and tonight I just tried to use my legs and be confident in my shot", Berry said after the game. And I felt like we did that tonight. "I don't think either team played very well". Senior forward Isaiah Hicks played the role of unsung hero in the win, scoring 13 points while grabbing nine rebounds and scoring a couple of key buckets in the final minutes of the game for the Tar Heels.

The first half was mostly dominated by Gonzaga, a school still searching for their first ever championship.

The freshman fouled out with 5:03 remaining in the game.

There were 44 fouls called that slowed the pace of the game and even had LeBron James complaining.

North Carolina scored the first eight points out of the break to take a 40-35 advantage, but Gonzaga countered with six straight of their own, and it was back-and-forth from that point on.

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