North Carolina defeats Gonzaga for redemption in national championship

North Carolina's Joel Berry II celebrates after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga Monday

After beating Gonzaga 71-65 in the national title game, North Carolina coach Roy Williams didn't sound very excited about the prospect of meeting President Donald Trump during the winners' traditional visit to D.C. You'd feel the same, too, even if you were Michael Jordan, because he was right there in the stands for the 2016 NCAA championship game. "I said he hasn't called me, but, guys, knowing him, he's going to say, 'I went a year ago, you lost.' That's what I was thinking". "I left him in". And we went out there and just gave it our all, literally.

The story of the game ended up being the referees. 27 fouls were called in the second half, resulting in an overwhelming 52 free throws.

Collins re-entered and made a handful of big plays before fouling out with 5:03 left, finishing with nine points and seven rebounds in only 14 minutes. 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. He nailed a hard shot; if you'll recall, Hicks bricked about as easy of a layup as you'll see in the beginning of the OR game. "I don't think either team got into a real good flow". "I'm thinking our offense stinks".

The foul calls stirred up boos from the crowd all night and backlash on social media, including a tweet from LeBron James, who said: "Man I can't watch this anymore man!"

That was a awful no-call though and it really hurt Gonzaga. "My teammates said just keep on pushing".

After all, he scored 20 points with four 3-pointers in last year's last-second loss to Villanova in the national title game, then showed up the next day for the team's return to campus on crutches with his left foot in a boot due to an injury suffered sometime during that game. The Tar Heels probably didn't mind that both teams entered the bonus with 12:49 left in the game, turning the final minutes largely into a battle of free throws.

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North Carolina's Roy Williams is in his ninth Final Four and fourth championship game, two of which were titles in 2005 and '09.

But Hicks finally found the rhythm down the stretch.

The Tar Heels rattled of eight consecutive points to take a 40-35 lead and please former Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, who cheered his alma mater from his seat in the North Carolina fan section. "I felt like when I was out there I was doing everything I can". "Things have been swirling around", Williams said. "So nobody made me aware of it or I certainly would have within the last minute there or two minutes".

"I do that all the time in practice where I hide I guess you could say", Meeks said about the steal.

Josh Perkins contributed 13 points, but Przemek shot 1-for-8 in scoring nine. In the final 100 seconds of the game, the Bulldogs allowed the Tar Heels to go on an 8-0 run, which ultimately sealed the game and solidified Carolina as the winners.

Good thing. Hicks wasn't going to leave the floor after the national championship game dejected like past year. But as Karnowski was flailing after the ball, he grabbed Berry around the neck and, after a long delay, got called for a flagrant foul of his own.

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