By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
North Carolina escaped with a one-point win over Oregon. Despite missing several late free throws, the Tar Heels won 77-76 at the Final Four at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
It is the second straight year that the Tar Heels will be playing in the National Championship game. They lost on a buzzer-beater from Kris Jenkins to give the Villanova Wildcats the win.
North Carolina got two offensive rebounds in the final five seconds to seal the win. Kennedy Meeks got the final offensive rebound – which has been their calling card all season – to send the team to Monday night’s finale.
Keith Smith cut the lead to one at 77-76 with 6.4 seconds left in the game.
While Smith got the Ducks close late, it was Meeks, who his teammates need to thank for the win. Even his head coach said so.
“If it wasn’t for Kennedy Meeks, we wouldn’t have been in the basketball game,” Roy Williams said.
Meeks had a career-high 25 points. The rest of his teammates shot 25% from the field (14 of 55).
Justin Jackson, who is the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, added 22 points.
Like North Carolina, Oregon struggled with its shooting. They shot 37% from the field – and this helped the Tar Heels keep its lead throughout the second half.
North Carolina and Oregon were tied with 43 rebounds. However, the Tar Heels had five more offensive rebounds – including the last two.
“My main focus was, if Joel missed the second free throw, to hit the offensive glass hard,” Meeks said.
Tyler Dorsey led the Ducks with 21 points.
“I feel very lucky but that’s OK,” Williams said. “We’re one of the two teams playing Monday night.”
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