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

Beth Cruz
April 16, 2017

"It's a very hard game to call", said Williams, who has now led the Tar Heels to three of the program's six titles. The two players who carried North Carolina to the title game - Meeks and Justin Jackson - combined to score just 10 points prior to halftime.

After beating Gonzaga 71-65 in the national title game, North Carolina coach Roy Williams didn't sound very excited about the prospect of meeting President Donald Trump during the winners' traditional visit to D.C. Meeks, fresh off his 25-point, 14-rebound performance against OR in the Final Four, had just four points and five boards and Hicks' struggles continued, as he went 1-for-5 in the half, but getting the Gonzaga bigs out of the game is what opened up the offensive glass and allowed UNC to get back into the game. "And for us we're just happy we came out on top, and this is an wonderful feeling".

For the second year in a row, the team's season came down to the final minute on the biggest stage.

The lone miss of the bunch from the field, a 3 from Joel Berry II, ended up in the hands of a Tar Heel anyway.

The storied North Carolina program was able to capture its sixth National Championship with a 71-65 victory over Gonzaga. With just under a minute to play, the Zags trailed by just one and were looking to take the lead. Meeks blocked Williams-Goss' jumper.

Jackson, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, scored 16 points but missed all nine of his 3-point attempts.


Coach Roy Williams got his third title with UNC, putting him one ahead of his mentor, Dean Smith, and now behind only John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp. "So it's a great feeling", Maye said. "I don't think I should be mentioned in the same sentence with him". "You got to thank God in these situations, because he definitely was with us the whole way". Hicks went 1-for-12. On Monday, each shined - Berry scored 22 points and hit several big shots late. "Uh, so for me, I place all my decisions based on that", said Justin Jackson, a 6'8" forward/guard for the Tar Heels. When the game was almost over and he was standing at the free throw line, the first attempt clanged off the rim before the second found the net. Both teams were in the bonus with 13 minutes left.

"There's so much pride for a lot of the people here and players who had a chance to play with Joel, knowing not only what a great player he is but what a great person he is", Vallery said.

Williams-Goss led the Bulldogs with 15 points, but twisted his ankle on the ensuing trip and could not elevate for a jumper that would have given the Bulldogs the lead.

In control most of the first half, the Zags (37-2) lost on a gamble with freshman center Zach Collins early in the second half.

This year's Cinderella team, the South Carolina Gamecocks, are probably the least likely school to return to the Final Four next season. He never made any secret of the fact this was not always a delightful experience, with his statements in between games and occasionally with his play on the basketball court. Other guys needed to raise their games, and Hicks stepped into the breach to boost North Carolina.

"It's been love and hate", Williams said of his relationship with Meeks, adding that he means that in a tongue-and-cheek kind of way.

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