NCAA Men’s Basketball Final recap

— April 3rd, 2017 —

North Carolina beats Gonzaga, 71–65, to finally bring home the National Title

THE ROAD ENDS HERE. The Tar Heels returning as finalists for the NCAA Men’s Finals and boy was it worth it in the end. Joel Berry II led the way with 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists for North Carolina. Justin Jackson struggled to get his offensive rhythm going but was able to put up 16 points. Meeks and Hicks were great defensively each getting a pair of blocks each. As for Gonzaga, it was Perkins and Williams-Goss carrying the team with 13 and 15 points respectively. Although, Williams-Goss’ stat may look deceiving as he was 5-for-17 on field goal attempts. Collins, off the bench, was unable to help his team to the level they needed him due to foul trouble, eventually fouling out in the 16-minute mark of the second half. It’s important to mention, there was some absurd calls made by the referees this game, including at least 2 of Collins’ personal fouls. On a crucial game, it’s a shame Gonzaga losing some key players, other than Collins, from some bad foul calls by the referees. Regardless, Gonzaga’s defense and persistence in the offensive end allowed them to keep it close till the end.

With 1:32 remaining, William-Goss shoots an elbow banker over Theo Pinson to give Gonzaga a 65–63 lead. Quickly the other way, Pison redeems himself with a bullet pass from the center three-point line to Justin Jackson, who got his lay-up and draws the foul. Jackson makes his free throw, Gonzaga miss their opportunity to get back the lead, and on the other way, Hicks backs down on #3 Johnathan Williams and before Karnowski could collapse down low to help out, Hicks goes up for a one-handed late release shot, which extends North Carolina’s lead up to 68–65. There’s 25.4 seconds left of the game, Gonzaga calls a timeout and after that, a cross court pass from just before the halfline from Karnowski gets picked out by Meeks, to Mark Few’s disappointment. It was a done deal at this point of the game. Pincon grabs the last rebound of the game, heaves up the ball as the buzzer rings, and the entire bench gathers up on center court to rejoice. Joel Berry II deservingly gets the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding player in the 2017 tournament.

Incredible effort from Mark Few and this year’s Gonzaga squad but even more impressive is North Carolina coach, Roy Williams, bringing back his team to the same position as last March Madness, and winning it this time. Kind of reminds me when San Antonio lost to Miami Heat when they were almost there one year and winning it all the next. Of course, the NBA Final games were probably had more dramatic and anxious moments but I digress…

*Champagne time at the locker room!*