UNC overcomes Gonzaga to earn sixth NCAA title

Jonathan Hurst, Reporter

On Monday night, Coach Roy Williams and the University of North Carolina earned the school’s sixth college basketball national championship over Gonzaga University. In somewhat of an uncharacteristically sloppy game that featured unreasonable fouling and excessive stoppage of play, the Tar Heels pulled away in the final minutes, to beat the Bulldogs 71-65. The victory provided the Tar Heels a sweet sense of revenge after losing in crushing fashion last year to Villanova.

North Carolina overcame an atrocious 14% shooting from the three-point arc, despite Gonzaga’s stellar 42% shooting. What ultimately proved to be fatal for Gonzaga was the turnover differential. They finished with 14 turnovers compared to UNC’s 4. Poor free throw shooting was a factor for both teams, as neither shot better than 70%. Shooting from the field was even worse, with both teams shooting roughly 35%. Statistically, it was a defensive and mistake ridden game.

North Carolina overcame a halftime deficit of three points, but not till late in the game. Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead three-point play and North Carolina scored the last eight points for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga and a title that heartbreakingly eluded the Tar Heels last year.

While the victory can easily be remembered as an act of redemption, the officiating can be more memorable to some degree. Michael Stephens, Verne Harris and Mike Eades, the referees who called 27 fouls in the second half, completely busted up the flow of the game and sent Meeks, Gonzaga’s 7-footers Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins and a host of others to the bench in foul trouble. Zach Collins fouling out with 16 minutes left in the game on a questionable call was indicative of the game as a whole.

While the game entertained overall, it was still completely dominated by the refs, and unfortunately that is how the game will be remembered.