NCAA: Tar Heels & Zags Will Play For Championship
North Carolina and Gonzaga won Final Four games on Saturday and will meet in Monday night's national title game. Here's a recap of the day's action:
North Carolina 77, Oregon 76
Kennedy Meeks had 25 points and 14 rebounds and North Carolina edged Oregon, 77-76, at the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in Arizona on Saturday night. The South Region champion Tar Heels advanced to Monday night’s national championship game, where they’ll face West Region champ Gonzaga.
Meeks’ offensive rebound with 4 seconds left assured the win for North Carolina (33-6), even though they missed four straight free throws in the last six seconds of the game as the feisty Ducks tried to rally from a double-digit second-half deficit.
Keith Smith’s layup with 7 seconds left capped a 9-3 run and drew Oregon (32-7) within a point, but the Ducks never got the ball back despite two missed free throws each by Meeks and Joel Berry II. The Tar Heels corralled the rebound on each player’s second miss.
Tyler Dorsey led Oregon with 21 points. Teammate Jordan Bell had 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Justin Jackson had 22 points for North Carolina, which returns to the national title game for the second consecutive year.
Gonzaga 77, South Carolina 73
Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points, and Gonzaga held off a furious second-half rally by South Carolina to win, 77-73, at the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in Arizona on Saturday. With the victory, the top-seeded Bulldogs advanced to Monday’s national title game where they’ll face North Carolina.
Freshman Zach Collins had 14 points 13 rebounds and six blocked shots for Gonzaga (37-1). Collins’ go-ahead three-pointer with 6:45 left put his team up for good after the Gamecocks had surged to a 67-65 lead despite trailing by 14 points midway through the second half.
South Carolina (26-11) had several chances to tie the game in the final two minutes, but they missed their final five field goal attempts. After Williams-Goss missed for the Bulldogs with 12.7 seconds left, the Gamecocks got the ball to star guard Sindarius Thornwell, but Gonzaga fouled him with 3 seconds to play to keep him from attempting a potential game-tying three-point shot.
Thornwell made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second, but the Bulldogs grabbed the rebound to seal the victory. Thornwell was held to 15 points despite averaging nearly 26 per game in the tournament coming into Saturday's contest.
P.J. Dozier paced South Carolina with 17 points. Chris Silva had 13 points and 13 boards.