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Published: Mon, April 10, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Tar Heels get it right this time, bring home the title

Tar Heels get it right this time, bring home the title

This is what should have happened after the game for those three men and their alternate: When they entered their locker room, black-and-white confetti should have fallen on them, but instead of hearing "One Shining Moment" they should have heard "Anticipation". Gonzaga always plays well in the tournament but has never won the championship.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The greatest season so far in Gonzaga basketball history ended with the Bulldogs falling short of their goal but many of those players who slugged it out with North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament title game will be back for another try next season.

North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks holds the championship trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. A feat not even his predecessor, the legendary Dean Smith, could achieve. They stifled any bit of flow that existed in the game and turned it into a review-driven free-throw contest.

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. Both teams aimed to bring their own tempo and force their opposition into uncomfortable situations, however, both played through the adversary rather well.

North Carolina defeated Gonzaga 71-65-redemption for the Tar Heels after last year's heartbreaking title game loss to the Villanova Wildcats via Kris Jenkins' now-legendary buzzer-beating three-pointer following Marcus Paige's ridiculous game-tying three in the waning seconds. This would be the largest lead for either team throughout the game.

But the Tar Heels stepped up that suffocating defense. Rolling into the second half, fans of both teams were certainly on the edge of their seats.

"I just wanted to win this".

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The Tar Heels were plagued by poor shooting throughout much of the first half, shooting just 30.6% from the field and a putrid 15.4% from beyond the arc.

North Carolina shot 35.6 percent. As he wrestled with Gonzaga's Silas Melson for the ball with his left hand, the palm of Meeks's right hand rested on the court out of bounds.

Gonzaga's big men, such a crucial part of the Bulldogs' game, were effectively neutralized by fouls.

The drama was high for the entire second half as the score remained tight, but boy was there some poor basketball being played (and officiated) all around. But it wasn't about his shooting percentages; it was the fact he made big - sometimes desperately needed - shots en route to scoring 13 points after halftime to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

But with Jackson struggling with his shot and the Tar Heels getting little inside Monday night, Berry responded in a big way. "We came out and competed down to the last seconds but we're national champions now". Felton is the nephew of Raymond Felton, who helped UNC win the national title in 2005.

So congratulations, North Carolina.

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