North Carolina Gains Redemption with Championship Win over Gonzaga

Caroline Beck
April 5, 2017

This year's Bulldogs accomplished much, but their biggest achievement may be the new standard they set for future teams. Berry missed his free throws, but Carolina retained possession because of the flagrant foul, and retook the lead when Tony Bradley rebounded his blocked shot and scored to put North Carolina in front 54-52.

But Williams-Goss almost carried Gonzaga home by himself.

The players were selected after no one played particularly well in what Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said was an "ugly" 71-65 win for North Carolina over Gonzaga. I'm not trying to blow my opponent up. "I couldn't wait to celebrate and see another banner hang in the Dean Dome", said Kendall McDermott.

"The hardest thing for me, the thing that drives me to tears, is not being able to coach this complete group again", Few said. There were 27 fouls called in the second half, compared to 17 in the first.

Most weird sequence: With 8:02 left, Berry got called for a foul for (maybe) making contact with Karnowski and stripping the ball from the big mans hands.

Williams-Goss did get nine rebounds and six assists.

Williams said it was "very difficult" game to call. I'm sitting over there, I'm not thinking the officials are doing a awful job. You're darned right I do. "I told them don't worry about what the referee is doing, he missed a call, but, my God, we missed four free throws in a row, missed layups". And we went out there and just gave it our all, literally. By midway into the second half, seemingly everybody was in foul trouble.

Gonzaga was in its 19th straight NCAA Tournament but had never reached a Final Four.

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North Carolina struggled offensively in the first half, shooting 30.6 percent and trailing 30-23 with 3 minutes, 2 seconds left in the half.

But Hicks finally found the rhythm down the stretch.

Monday's championship game was a battle too, with the Tar Heels shooting an uncharacteristic 35.6 percent from the field and 14.8 percent from 3, well outside the efficient offense we've come to expect from Roy Williams' tightly knit crew.

"At the end of the day I can't do anything but praise Him and thank Him for the abilities that He gave me and the abilities He gave this team", Jackson said. "Things have been swirling around", Williams said.

The two remaining #1 seeds put on quite a show, with the competition fierce right up until the last minute. I swear to goodness, that's not what I'm thinking.

Berry was joined by teammates Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson. The Tar Heels only had four turnovers while forcing 14 and were the more disciplined team when it mattered most. "To know that we were in the game and could have won, it hurts even more". Williams almost won another title last season before Jenkins made a buzzer-beating shot, an ending that Williams said he had not watched and probably never would. "And for us we're just happy we came out on top, and this is an fantastic feeling".

Isaiah Hicks made a basket to push the lead to 68-65 with 25 seconds left.

And North Carolina got over a hump that, at times this season, felt like a mountain. The Bulldogs limited Meeks to one offensive rebound in the first half, which qualified as a victory considering he had grabbed eight during the Tar Heels' semifinal victory over Oregon.

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