North Carolina beat Gonzaga, 71-65, to win NCAA title
"We came out here and we competed", Berry said. Berry said, "It came down to the last seconds but we're champions now".
Berry II was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after he finished with 22 points.
Point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga's leader, felt it after the Zags' 71-65 loss to North Carolina.
"It was a slugfest out there", Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. And we've played some teams before that I thought we could win nine out of 10.
When the national championship game was over and the confetti and North Carolina-colored dust had settled, Tar Heels guard Joel Berry II sat on the championship podium, a couple inches away from his exclamatory, celebrating teammates. Jackson scored 16 for the Tar Heels, including a three-point play that gave them the lead for good with 1:40 to go. They stifled any bit of flow that existed in the game and turned it into a review-driven free-throw contest.
It was certainly competitive, but with both teams' tough defenses locking up the main offensive options, the game turned into a foul-laden slog rather than a shootout. The party will likely go on all night long and hopefully it doesn't get too out of hand. As a result, there were 52 total free throws, 26 for each team. That should have made it Gonzaga ball, down 1 with plenty of time left. Negative rebounding differentials tended to sink the Tar Heels in the regular season. It set up the Hicks layup to put Carolina ahead by three. Television replays showed Meeks' hand was out of bounds. "I couldn't wait to celebrate and see another banner hang in the Dean Dome", said Kendall McDermott. The feeling of inadequacy a year ago in the locker room is one of the worst feelings I've ever had. Thats tough to hear..
"I mean, how many teams would take 37-2, league champs, national runner-up?"
And UNC did it again here against Gonzaga, the upstart mid-major major that was attempting to break through with its first national championship.
We broke the glass ceiling everyone said we couldnt break, Johnathan Williams said.
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North Carolina shot 35.6 percent. "I knew I had a great group of guys here".
Gonzaga's program-defining run to the national championship game ended in a flurry of whistles and missed shots.
North Carolina forward Isaiah Hicks (center), who had 13 points and eight rebounds, puts back a shot over Gonzaga defender Johnathan Williams (left) f.
Gonzaga's Collins was the first casualty of the foul-fest.
"It started in '99 when they went to the Elite Eight and we just kept - the Zags keep breaking that ceiling".
Gonzaga, playing in its first title game, shot on 33.9 percent and were led by Williams-Goss' 15 points and six assists, while Josh Perkins had 13 all in the first half.
Collins fouled out with 5:03 left and Karnowski was mostly ineffective, even before picking up his fourth foul.
North Carolina players said last year's defeat fueled them to spend extra time on the practice court and in the weight room.
That was all the Heels needed, although Jackson added a dunk off a turnover to finish the game.
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