North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks places his right hand outside of the line as Meeks and Gonzaga's Silas Melson (0) battle for a loose ball during the second half in the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.
Much can be debated about how the referees officiated the NCAA Tournament's championship game between North Carolina and Gonzaga on Monday night, but there is no discussion about whether they missed an important call in the final minute of the title game.
Gonzaga did not score again and North Carolina closed on an 8-0 run to win its sixth national championship and leave the Zags standing on the doorstep. The run started with leading-scorer Jackson's 3-point play, giving North Carolina the lead for the final time with just 1:40 left on the clock.
The Tar Heels (33-7) followed a terrible-shooting night in the semifinal with an equally ice-cold performance in the final - going 4 for 27 from 3-point land and 26 for 73 overall.
Jackson scored 16 points, but missed all nine of his three-point attempts. Behind some great play from Perkins who managed 13 points and two assists, Gonzaga looked good. North Carolina is no stranger to the big game, nor the big dance, though this was the first time that Gonzaga has been to the Final Four.
Hicks stood closer than any of his teammates to Villanova's confetti-drenched celebration immediately after Kris Jenkins' 3-pointer splashed through the net to end last year's national championship game.
"I mean, I'm just emotionally drained just because I put my all into this", Berry said.
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Both of Berry's parents are still connected to Lake Highland, and Vallery said Highlanders nation is ecstatic with his success. Meeks received some support on social media for the Most Outstanding Player award that ultimately went to Joel Berry.
The Tar Heels became just the fourth team to come back from losing the national championship the year before to go on and win it the following year. It also gives him one more than his mentor, the late Dean Smith. On the previous two possessions, Williams-Goss had scored.
In control most of the first half, the Zags (37-2) lost on a gamble with freshman center Zach Collins early in the second half.
Bulldogs coach Mark Few had no idea from his vantage point on the far end of the court that the jump-ball call was questionable. If the kiddies watched the second half, they might drop playing basketball and stick with soccer. I'm sitting over there, I'm not thinking the officials are doing a awful job. Gonzaga fouled Berry, who made one of two free throws with seven seconds left for the Tar Heels last points of the night.
"They made some big plays down the stretch, but it could very well be us out there celebrating right now", Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams said.
"We were negotiating our way through massive foul trouble, ones that we haven't had all year", Few said.
Williams pointed out that North Carolina was not invited to the White House after the Tar Heels won the national title in 2005 and he couldn't round up enough players from the 2009 team to accept an invitation to visit the White House.