North Carolina would go on to win 71-65, earning a national title nearly a year to the day after they had their hearts broken by Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beating, title-winning three.
The score was tied 11 times and the lead changed 12, with the final change coming with 1:40 to play when Justin Jackson - who hit 44.3 percent of his shots this season as the Tar Heels' leading scorer but was just 6 of 19 (31.6 percent) Monday - converted a three-point play for a 66-65 edge. Hicks found himself with the ball and North Carolina draining clock holding a one-point lead over Gonzaga and less than 30 seconds remaining.
The individual stats that stick out for the Tar Heels include Joel Berry shooting 4-13 from beyond the arc and All-American Josh Jackson going 0-9 from deep.
A little over two hours later the junior point guard was announced as Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 Final Four as a sea of Carolina blue confetti rained down onto his national championship team. Jackson had 16 points, while Hicks had 13 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and one steal.
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams is interviewed as his team celebrate after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.
Nigel Williams-Goss led the Bulldogs with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists. While their numbers in another football stadium turned basketball arena left plenty to be desired, with the Tar Heels connecting on just 35.6 percent of their shots in Monday's title game against Gonzaga, the baskets came when they needed them. In the way: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, now six times a champion.
"I think experience takes care of some of this stuff", Williams said at Sunday's media event.
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"It's just an unbelievable feeling", Berry said.
"I told my team with three minutes left: 'If you had told me on the first day of practice that we would be in this position I would have taken it.' What we had to do was play the last three minutes".
"I think that was just a youngster willing the ball in the hole", Williams said. In UNC's 77-76 semifinal win over OR on Saturday, he only had two points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.
Gonzaga was pretty solid in the first half but the lights started to go out for the Zags in the first 2:00 of the second half.
"They didn't go to the monitor when the game was on the line, though, and they missed the biggest call of the season", Francesa said. No matter if you are a Tar Heel or a Bulldog, both teams left it all on the court during an impressive final battle!
"To be so close for us is a temporarily crushing blow right now", Few said. It is the third national championship for North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who has won all three with the Tar Heels and since 2005. Gonzaga always plays well in the tournament but has never won the championship. "They came into the game as a good team with taking care of the ball". I said 'he hasn't called but guys, knowing him, he'll say that he went a year ago and we lost.' So that's what I was thinking.