Tarheels find redemption in defeating Gonzaga to win national championship

Kari Scott
April 5, 2017

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.

Junior guard Joel Berry scored a game-high 22 points as the North Carolina Tar Heels claimed redemption with a 71-65 win over Gonzaga in the National Championship game on April 4 in Glendale, Ariz. "And for us we're just happy we came out on top, and this is an wonderful feeling".

"The feeling of inadequacy in the locker room a year ago is the worst feeling I've ever had", Williams said.

Most of Roy Williams' players returned for another run, but to say everything went right for them at this Final Four would not be the truth. The Bulldogs' Zach Collins-the hero of a Final Four win over South Carolina-fouled out with 5:03 to go after playing only 14 minutes.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few said after the game he would have called for a review had he seen Meeks' hand cross the line, although the NCAA later said the call wasn't reviewable anyway. "So I think it was the magnitude of the game had a lot to do with it and the defenses on both ends, on both teams, I think had something to do with it". But as Karnowski flailed after the ball, he was called for a flagrant foul after grabbing Berry around the neck.

That resulted in four straight free throws, a 52-all tie and booing from every corner of the massive Phoenix University Stadium.

"Those were three of the best officials in the entire country, in the National Basketball Association or college".

Had Eades called Meeks out of bounds, Gonzaga would've gotten the ball down by one with 53 seconds left.

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Theo Pinson had an iPhone in his hand, camera facing himself and about 10 other Tar Heels. It set up the Hicks layup to put Carolina ahead by three.

"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. So nobody made me aware of it, or I certainly would have within the last minute there or two minutes. "That's tough to hear".

The Bulldogs, the Cinderella-turned-Godzilla team from the small school in the Northwest, tried to keep the big picture in mind. "So we were at fault just as much as anybody else", Williams said. After that, North Carolina hit a key shot to go up three.

Williams said he wrote that up on a board inside the Tar Heels' locker room - the necessity of toughness. "We put in the work and we were right there, good enough to win a national championship". "I knew I had a great group of guys here". OR had two chances for a possession while trailing in the final seconds but a pair of offensive rebounds pushed the Tar Heels into the championship game.

That was all the Heels needed, although Jackson added a dunk off a turnover to finish the game.

The break seemed to settle Gonzaga's players, as they scored the next eight points to take a 43-40 lead.

Przemek Karnowski, the winningest player in NCAA history after taking part in 137 Gonzaga victories, struggled mightily, with the 7-1 center shooting 1-of-8 from the field.

Gonzaga's Collins was the first casualty of the foul-fest.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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