The NCAA Mens’ National Basketball Championship Tournament tipped off a little over two weeks ago with 68 teams trying to make it to the championship game. The tournament concluded Monday night with
North Carolina obtaining their goal of winning a NCAA Championship by beating Gonzaga 71-65.
The Tar heels were led by Junior Point Guard Joel Berry II who despite playing with two bad ankles scored 22 points and also captured the “Final Four” MVP honors. Berry led a tar heel offensive attack that at times did not look pretty but it got the job done. In a game that was filled with 44 fouls called and UNC only shooting under 40 percent from the floor Berry’s leadership combined with the efforts of Junior Forward Justin Jackson and 6’9″ Power Forward Isaiah Hicks helped the men in blue and white prevail.
The Bulldogs of Gonzaga are lead by WCC player of the year Nigel Williams-Goss who paced the “Zags” attack with 15 points despite not having a great shooting night of his own.The game was a hard fought one that went back and fourth for most of the night,
Things got interesting in the final two minutes when the Tar heels saw and eight-point lead evaporate as the Bulldogs made a final push and actually took the lead 65-63 on a Wiliams-Goss jumper ( Williams-Goss actually scored Gonzaga’s final eight points of the game). But then Jackson converted a three-point play for UNC and Carolina never looked back.
Neither team really got hot from the floor and the Key players like Senior center Przemek Karnowski and Guard Josh Perkins never really got going Karnowksi was held to nine points while Perkins Contributed thirteen. Carolina 6’10” Senior forward Kennedy Meeks came up big in the closing seconds of the game blocking a Williams-goss jumper that was converted into an uncontested Justin Jackson dunk that put the Tar heels up by five points and sealed the victory
A victory that eases the sting of the North Carolina loss in last season’s title game loss to Villanova.The Zags in their first appearance in a NCAA championship game in program history did not make redemption for the team from tobacco road easy, but no team that has only lost one time in 38 games is ever easy to beat.
North Carolina consider yourself redeemed, But keep your eye on Gonzaga in the future. The first team from the West Coast Conference to play in a title game in over 60 years may not take as long to get back.
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Trevin A Jones