North Carolina Tar Heels Have to Grind It Out to Win Title
on Apr 05, 2017 04:11 AM EDT
This year's NCAA Finals is all about heart. While the excitement is what the score itself projects, the game in general is far from the thriller that a lot of fans expected it to be. No matter how grisly the game was, it cannot be denied that the Tar Heels are here to stay. North Carolina has just bagged its sixth overall diadem.
What propelled the squad of Coach Roy Williams to the top of the heap is the 8-0 run during the last hundred seconds of the game. It may have been a brilliant streak but the statistics reveal otherwise. The North Carolina Tar Heels have missed eleven of their 26 free throws. Astoundingly, the school has survived by going 4-for-27 in rainbow territory.
The entire night has been hell for both teams. While Gonzaga has gone on to finish the season with a 37-2 mark, its second loss reflects the devastation of a lost year. The Bulldogs missed 86 out of their 132 shot attempts. Their defense has revealed some cracks as manifested by the 22 fouls they've incurred.
It is still anybody's ball game until Isaiah Hicks banked in a shot to give the Tar Heels a 68-65 lead with 26 ticks left. Then teammate Kennedy Meeks cemented the outcome as he blocked Nigel Williams-Goss attempt for Gonzaga in the waning seconds. The big man's rejection has somewhat redeemed himself as he missed three out of four free throws near the end of the game.
It has been a wild ride for the North Carolina Tar Heels as the team has to squeeze out extra efforts in toppling Arkansas and Kentucky which it both trailed by five during the second round and the South regional finals, respectively. More importantly, the squad has managed to hang on by a point against Oregon in the semis despite missing four crucial free throws in the last six seconds.
Astonishingly enough, Gonzaga has outrebounded North Carolina by three boards with 49 caroms but the Tar Heels continued their dominance on the offensive glass. Perhaps what further hurt the Bulldogs is their 33.9 percent shooting from the field.