LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Redemption for North Carolina.
A year after losing on a last-second three in the title game to Villanova, the Tar Heels won their sixth national championship, the third under Roy Williams 71-65, denying Gonzaga in its bid for a first title.
The game was marked by poor shooting and foul trouble for both sides. UNC used a 9-2 burst to finish the game. Joel Berry led North Carolina with 22 points after struggling with foot problems Saturday. Isaiah Hicks had 13 points and 9 rebounds and Justin Jackson had 16 despite missing all nine of his three-point attempts. Gonzaga was led by Nigel Williams-Goss with 15 but he was just 5-of-17 from the field. Big man Przemek Karnowski was just 1-for-8 from the field, missing good looks around the rim all night. The Bulldogs were outshot for the first time all season, finishing at 33.9 percent to 35.6 to UNC.
Both teams had trouble shooting in the opening half. Carolina was just 2-for-13 from deep and hit 31 percent from the field. The Bulldogs hit 40 percent while making 5-of-9 from deep. Josh Perkins, who was scoreless in the semi-final win over South Carolina, had all 13 of his points in the first half as Gonzaga went to the break with a 35-32 lead.
North Carolina finished the year at 33-7 and won for the first time this season while being outrebounded (49-46). Gonzaga finished its finest year at 37-2.