Officials took control, stole show and fouled North Carolina's win

Posted April 09, 2017

North Carolina players celebrate after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.

They filled with extra time on the practice court and the weight room, all fueled by a devastating loss in last year's title game on Kris Jenkins' 3-point dagger at the buzzer for Villanova.

Berry, hobbled by two bad ankles, played well enough in the championship game Monday night after a clunker in the semifinals to be named the outstanding player of the Final Four. Jackson had 16 points but went 0 for 9 from 3-point range.

North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks places his right hand outside of the line as Meeks and Gonzaga's Silas Melson (0) battle for a loose ball during the second half in the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament. Hicks went 1-for-12. On Monday, each shined - Berry scored 22 points and hit several big shots late.

A year ago the Tar Heels' title bid was sunk by a last-second shot by Villanova's Kris Jenkins in the title game.

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While those officials were doing their own version of 40 minutes of hell, two No. 1 seeds did everything they could to play a national championship game. A reporter suggested prior to the game that should North Carolina beat Gonzaga, he would be asked about it.

Williams said after the game, according to NBC, that he needed to "think on" a visit to the White House, in a break with tradition. "So we just gotta give it our all, '" Joel Berry said after the game.

Per NCAA rules, it was not a reviewable play. The Tar Heels average 13 more rebounds per game than their opponent, a stat only one other team has matched since 1980.

"You know, our president tweets out more bulls-- than anybody I've ever seen", Williams said during a press conference at the ACC Tournament.

Zach Collins, a 7-foot freshman, backs up Karnowski and he had 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks against SC in the national semifinal.

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Gonzaga was pretty solid in the first half but the lights started to go out for the Zags in the first 2:00 of the second half.

"It was a slugfest out there", Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said.

Anyway, the Bulldogs are still without a national championship and the Tar Heels walk away with their sixth.

Gonzaga's Zach Collins, hero of a semi-final win over SC, fouled out with 5:03 left in the game. "We broke that glass ceiling everybody said we couldn't get over". I said 'he hasn't called but guys, knowing him, he'll say that he went past year and we lost.' So that's what I was thinking.

North Carolina forward Aaron Rohlman told Sports Illustrated that only about three of the 15 Tar Heels voted for Trump.

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"It was insane because I was thinking like would he (the ref) have called a foul on the dude trying to grab Joel, but he got it away quick enough". "And I tried to be more positive and I told them, past year we were ahead at halftime and the other team came out more focused than we did".