GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) North Carolina for the win! The Tar Heels defeated the Bulldogs 71-65 Monday night in the 2017 NCAA National Championship.
North Carolina has its sixth NCAA basketball championship.
North Carolina’s Joel Berry II, hobbled by two bad ankles, played a strong championship game after a clunker in the semifinals and was named the outstanding player of the Final Four.
The junior guard and floor leader scored 22 points and handed out six assists in the Tar Heels’ 71-65 victory over Gonzaga on Monday night.
Berry bounced back from a 2-for-14 shooting performance against Oregon on Saturday to make 7 of 19 shots against the Zags in an ugly foul-filled game.
During the post game celebration, he acknowledged he wasn’t 100 percent but said he gave it his all. Berry said, “It came down to the last seconds but we’re champions now.”
The Tar Heels survived an ugly, foul-filled second half to beat Gonzaga 71-65. They scored the final eight points of the game to pull out the win.
Gonzaga center Zach Collins was the first casualty of the foul-fest in the NCAA championship game. The freshman 7-footer fouled out with 5:03 remaining the second half.
There were whistles everywhere in the second half of the NCAA championship game _ and it certainly kept Gonzaga and North Carolina from getting into any kind of flow.
With eight minutes to go, 39 fouls were called. That included 22 in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Gonzaga’s Josh Collins, Johnathan Williams, and Przemek Karnowski had four apiece, as did Kennedy Meeks for the Tar Heels.
The foul calls stirred up boos from the crowd and backlash on social media, including a tweet from LeBron James, who said: “Man I can’t watch this anymore man!”