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Published: Fri, April 07, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Missed call helps UNC in final minute of game

Missed call helps UNC in final minute of game

Soon, so were Meeks and Hicks, the latter after a scramble under the Gonzaga basket that turned a potential North Carolina steal into a Karnowski basket.

It's OK, Carolina, you can open your eyes.

UNC junior forward Justin Jackson said Gonzaga was playing good defense on Hicks, but Hicks was just a little better, giving North Carolina the late-game shot it needed to ultimately get redemption after losing the championship game a year ago to Villanova, 77-74, on a three pointer at the buzzer by the Wildcats' Kris Jenkins. They're human and for the most part do an awesome job that very few people could handle.

There's no way to know what will happen - this has dragged on for so long now - but the NCAA seems to have gotten more serious about it recently.

To say everything went right for UNC in the final stages of the tournament would not be the truth.

Carolina shot 35 percent from the field, a percentage point worse than it did in Saturday's semifinal win over OR, which stood, for two days, as their worst shooting night in a tournament win since 1967.

Once Jackson finished off with the dunk, Pinson knew the game was over. Moments later, Williams-Goss twisted his ankle and could not elevate for a jumper that would've given the Bulldogs the lead. He made the last four, including a basket with 25 seconds left on the clock to give North Carolina a 68-65 lead.

"I put it in the locker room up on the board, one of the things we had to be tonight was tough enough", UNC coach Roy Williams said, "and I think this group was tough enough tonight".

"I got to stop fouling so much". Even if the Tar Heels held them off the scoreboard for that possession and then made a 2-pointer, the Bulldogs would have held the ball for the final shot with the opportunity to tie. The Tar Heels would have won easily if they could have converted from the free-throw line, where they went 15-for-26.

After another half of less-than-ideal basketball that still left the Tar Heels down only three, 35-32, North Carolina exploded out of halftime with a quick 8-0 run and some dialed-up defense.

The game "featured" 52 free throws.

Berry's last 3 gave UNC a 62-60 lead with 4:18 left.

Karnowski would pick up his fourth on a flagrant with 8:02 to play while Collins would foul out with five minutes still to play.

"At the end, when you're watching your kids jump around, and the excitement and thrill they have, there's no better feeling in the world as a coach", Williams said. "It was just a physical game".

Zags coach Mark Few handled it with class, calling the refs "three of the best officials in the entire country", and insisting they did a fine job.

That left Gonzaga unable to effectively initiate its inside-out game or protect the rim as aggressively as it had in the first half. Only one problem: Replays show that the Tar Heels' Kennedy "Meeks has got his hand out of bounds as he's holding onto the ball". It set up the Hicks layup to put Carolina ahead by 3.

Gonzaga, on the other hand, coughed the ball up 14 times and posted a turnover rate that hovered around 19 percent.

"That's probably on me".

But, still, that missed out-of-bounds call really hurt.

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