UNC NCAA Champs!
Can you imagine losing the national championship by one swish at the final buzzer? So close that you could taste victory but have to watch others celebrate instead? What could you have done differently? What could you have done better? Will you have another chance to try again?
So you work extra hard all year to have the chance to redeem your team, claw your way past 64 teams to make it back to the finals again … and now in the final seconds it looks like that same situation could play out again? Aggh!
After last year’s heartbreaking loss , the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels vowed to not let that happen again as they played for the national title for the second year in a row in last night’s NCAA men’s basketball championships.
But it looked like it might be double the disappointment, moments away from it happening two years in a row, this time against the Gonzaga Bulldogs (a small school in Washington state).
This was the first time ever that Gonzaga was playing for a national title. UNC was going for its 6th.
The score was virtually tied all game long, both teams lead on and off and there were 11 ties and 12 lead changes, all the way up to the end. Players were in danger of fouling out and the game was choppy because the refs blew their whistles so many times. And a lot of baskets were missed. It was nerve wracking!
UNC was up 68-65 with just 15 seconds left to go. Gonzaga’s star player Nigel Williams-Goss was about to shoot a basket after twisting his ankle late in the game, when it’s swatted by a UNC player over to another, thrown down the court to UNC’s wide-open player Justin Jackson who dunked it, allowing them to pull away 70-65 … which pretty much sealed UNC the victory.
UNC did it!
The final score was 71-65.
A lot of UNC’s player said that last year’s heartbreak actually helped them win this time as they were prepared for the end-of-the-game pressure. UNC’s Joel Berry II was named Most Outstanding Player and said this of their win: ”I wanted to see this confetti fall on us and we’re the winners … We came out here and we competed. It came down to the last second, but we’re national champs now.”
Gonzaga’s visibly crying Nigel Williams-Goss handled his heartbreak with grace, posting this message on Instagram:
You can see the NCAA’s highlights package of the game at their website here , or below:
On the women’s side, the favorites and national champions four times in a row, University of Connecticut Huskies (UConn), lost a 110-game winning streak to Mississippi State in the semi-finals, who in turn lost in the finals to South Carolina.