The result of the ugly National Championship was North Carolina claiming their sixth NCAA title in school history a year after losing the title game on a buzzer beater by Villanova. He picked up his third foul five minutes into the half and his fourth with 8:02 left on a questionable flagrant foul while he was being fouled by North Carolina’s Joel Berry II.
Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss (5) reacts after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against North Carolina, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.
The NCAA College Basketball National Championship was contested between Gonzaga and North Carolina on Monday night. And I felt like we did that tonight. “I’ll tell that story forever”. It’s all about the next thing. “I don’t know if we’re going to get invited”. The lead changed hands seven more times, but the excitement was blunted by the game’s 44 fouls and 52 free throws.
Still, Gonzaga only shot 24 percent in the second half – the real cause of its loss. It took all the rhythm out of the game and played a pretty big role in why neither team was able to find a groove offensively.
This year’s title game was a cold-shooting, foul-filled affair, but what the game lacked in aesthetics, it made up for in drama, with the game on the line in the final minute.
Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski never got in the flow of the game and finished with 9 points and four fouls. I’m sitting over there, I’m not thinking the officials are doing a bad job. “That’s all I was doing”. Eighteen years after they caught the basketball world’s collective eye with a Cinderella run to the Elite Eight, the Bulldogs’ dream season came up one game short.
The second half featured two teams teetering back and forth as if on a seesaw, a tight, nerve-wracking game befitting the grandest of the sport’s stages.
The dean dome was the team’s first stop after returning from Phoenix, the site of the 2017 Final Four.
But Hicks finally found the rhythm down the stretch. Refs called a jump ball, and with the possession arrow favoring North Carolina, the Tar Heels converted on an Isaiah Hicks runner to push the lead to 3. ‘But let me think on it’. He drove the lane and dished a pass to teammate Luke Maye for the game-winning jumper against Kentucky on March 26.
“So nobody made me aware of it or I certainly would have within the last minute there or 2 minutes”, he said.
State troopers escorted the Tar Heels from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to the Smith Center as soon as the team landed. “Like I said, nothing would hold him back”. “And for us we’re just happy we came out on top, and this is an awesome feeling”.
Case in point: Gonzaga made only one field goal between Collins’ foul, at 15:53 and Collins’ next field goal, at 6:09. “And it starts whistling the most shrill, uncomfortable feeling you’ve ever seen”, Williams said.
Around this time previous year, former Tar Heel point guard Marcus Paige could’ve surpassed Michael Jordan’s iconic mid range game victor with his own “shining moment” when he made a double pump three to tie the ball game.