North Carolina Tops Gonzaga In Title Game, Wins 6th National Championship
North Carolina claimed their 6th basketball national championship in school history Monday night, topping the Gonzaga Bulldogs 71-65.
For college basketball's biggest stage, in college basketball's biggest game, the play wasn't always pretty.
Gonzaga shot a season-low 33.9% from the field, and a horrendous 18% in the second half. UNC wasn't much better, shooting 35.6%. It marked the first time this season the Bulldogs were outshot in FG percentage.
"We got good shots," said Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. "We had the ball where we wanted."
But the shots didn't fall.
"I don't think either team played really well," said UNC head coach Roy Williams moments after he won his 3rd national title as a head coach.
In addition to the bad basketball, officials were heavy with the whistles, calling 44 fouls total, 22 on each team.
One thing the title game had going for it was a close finish. With less than a minute to go, the game's winner was still in question.
North Carolina junior forward Justin Jackson finished off a 3 point play with 100 seconds left, giving the Tar Heels a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Throughout the night, the Tar Heels leaned on junior guard Joel Berry II, who grinded out an ankle injury to lead all scorers with 22 points, hitting several clutch shots. Despite his 2-14 performance in Saturday's win over Oregon in the national semi-final, Berry's performance Monday night was good enough to earn him Final Four Most Outstanding Player honors.
Winning was the end of a redemption tour for UNC, who lost on a Villanova buzzer-beater in last year's title game.
North Carolina is the 4th team in NCAA history to win a title in college hoops the year after losing in the National Championship game.
Williams is now one of only 6 NCAA coaches with 3 or more National Championships, joining Jim Calhoun (3), Bobby Knight (3), Adolph Rupp (4), Mike Krzyzewski (5), and John Wooden (10).