After being disappointed in last year’s heartbreaking loss to Villanova, North Carolina redeem themselves and won the national championship with a 71-65 victory over Gonzaga.
This is North Carolina’s sixth national title and first since 2009. Roy Williams now becomes the sixth men’s college basketball coach to have at least three titles, defining all the odds in winning against a big team in Gonzaga.
“At the end, when you’re watching your kids jump around, and the excitement and thrill they have, there’s no better feeling in the world as a coach,” Williams said according to CNN.
The game was tight from the beginning of the first half. Each team put up tough shots and play sensational defense. By halftime Gonzaga led North Carolina 35-32 and most viewers would expect it the second half to be another classci. The Tar Heels went on a 8-0 run to take a 40-35 lead, but Gonzaga responded back with their own run to make it 43-40 with 14:34 left.
From that point on teams trade points and fouls. But North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks jumper in the closing minutes gave them a 68-65 lead with 27 seconds to go. Gonzaga try to make a shot but got blocked and the Tar Heels never looked back. This is a night these Tar Heels will remember for a long time, and now have a chance to do it all over again next season.
“It’s just an unbelievable feeling,” Joel Berry II said, who scored 22 points and named Most Outstanding Player. “It’s what we’ve worked for. The ups and downs that we’ve had, it’s all worth it. I can’t even describe my feeling right now, but I’m just glad that I was able to do something with this team because I felt like, just the personality and what we went through, and I think we just deserved it.”