North Carolina fights off Gonzaga for 71-65 win and national championship

Redemption Tar Heels take NCAA title 71-65 over Gonzaga

Plagued by foul trouble and an inability to hit shots in a foul-filled second half, Gonzaga lost its bid for the program's first national championship in an ugly 71-65 loss to North Carolina on Monday night. It's UNC's sixth title and first since 2009.

He joined Bob Knight and Jim Calhoun, who each have three national championships as a head coach, and trails only John Wooden (10), Mike Krzyzewski (5) and Adolph Rupp (4) for the most ever. "He was really fighting through all the injuries he had through these previous games you know he really came out and played his heart out and that's what we needed".

Gonzaga was able to counteract North Carolina's biggest strength, outrebounding the Tar Heels 49-46.

What had the makings of a wildly entertaining finish became - FWEEE! - an interminable slog Monday night as officials called 11 fouls - FWEEE! - in the first four-plus minutes - FWEEE! - of the second half and 27 over the - FWEEE! - last 20 minutes. From there, as the teams continued to trade points, the officials couldn't stop blowing the whistle.

They called 27 fouls in the second half and put both teams in the bonus with 13-plus minutes left.

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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. That's a field goal shooting percentage of 36.

"People asked me for the last day and a half if he was going to come", North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said with a laugh Tuesday on the "Dan Patrick Show". "This was it and I felt like we worked hard for this moment and it was about time".

The final push came from UNC.

With North Carolina leading by one with 26 seconds left in the game, Hicks' floater in the paint pushed UNC's lead to 68-65. It also gives him one more than his mentor, the late Dean Smith. With no timeouts, Gonzaga was finished. They blocked eight shots and stole the ball seven times. Meeks, fresh off his 25-point, 14-rebound performance against OR in the Final Four, had just four points and five boards and Hicks' struggles continued, as he went 1-for-5 in the half, but getting the Gonzaga bigs out of the game is what opened up the offensive glass and allowed UNC to get back into the game.

Nigel Williams-Goss led the Bulldogs with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

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He hit his first shot, a 3-pointer from the left wing, but unlike Saturday night in the national semifinals against OR, when he would miss his 12 of his next 13 shots, Berry didn't go cold.

Gonzaga, a Roman Catholic university in Spokane, Washington, emerged as a Cinderella team in 1999, reaching the Elite Eight before losing to eventual champion CT.

Per NCAA rules, it was not a reviewable play.

This year's run by Gonzaga was no fluke, with its only other defeat coming February 25 to BYU.

Berry was named the outstanding player of the Final Four.

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Gonzaga's defense was good, as it has been all season. Gonzaga senior guard Jordan Matthews said.

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