North Carolina clinches sixth NCAA championship with 71-65 win over Gonzaga

Justin Greene
April 5, 2017

NOTES: North Carolina appeared in its 11th national championship game, having it won it in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.

Tony Bradley #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels competes for the ball with Zach Collins #32 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the second half during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Bulldogs shot worse than their opponent for the first time all season, and went more than eight straight minutes in the second half without making a field goal.

Eventually, though, a punishment will be rendered, and when - not if - the hammer finally falls on the Tar Heels, the decision could include a postseason ban.

The title game that has always been called the ugliest was Connecticut's 53-41 win over Butler in 2011.

Their 71-65 win will not be mistaken for a work of art.

Just look at that sea of Carolina Blue celebrating.

As the celebration wound down, and CBS' "One Shining Moment" video played on the big screen, Meeks turned to Berry and said: "We won the championship". "And the ups and downs we've had?"

The story starts with the downs.

"One of the things we needed to be tonight was tough enough, and I think we were, " UNC coach Roy Williams said after wrapping up his third championship.

Carolina was down 2 with 1:40 left when Jackson took a pass under the bucket from Theo Pinson, made a layup and got fouled.


Fortunately for the Tar Heels, the official covering the play didn't see Meeks committing a violation.

Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead three-point play for North Carolina (33-7).

With 50 seconds left in regulation, Tar Heels forward Kennedy Meeks and Bulldogs guard Silas Melson each had an opportunity to grab an important rebound, but it ended up in a tie-up situation.

But there was no protest, no review. "But, I think Isaiah made two big baskets in the last three minutes". "So that's tough. It's tough to hear".

The NCAA said the play was not reviewable.

Still, Gonzaga only shot 24 percent in the second half - the real cause of its loss. They brought steady cascades of boos from the crowd of 76,168, as fans from each side took turns protesting the whistles.

Tar Heel fans from all over the country were in Phoenix this weekend and witnessed UNC knock off OR in the Semifinal Game then Gonzaga in the National Championship. I swear to goodness, that's not what I'm thinking.

The Tar Heels became just the fourth team to come back from losing the national championship the year before to go on and win it the following year. Bulldogs star Nigel Williams-Goss was 5 for 17 (1 for 3 from 3-point range), and Przemek Karnowski had just nine points.

"I mean, if I could have I would've taken a picture and shown you all the bruising I had on my ankle", Berry said. I told you, people have questioned my integrity, and that means more to me than anything. With no timeouts, Gonzaga was finished.

Few, both a coaching and card-playing buddy of Williams, might be tempted to give Ol' Roy a call and ask him how he did it.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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