The North Carolina Tar Heels won their sixth national championship in men’s basketball on Monday night, defeating Gonzaga 71-65 at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
The victory brought a bit of redemption for the Tar Heels, who lost in last season’s national championship game on a buzzer-beater by Villanova. This time UNC snatched the victory away from Gonzaga with a 9-2 rally sparked by its defense in the final two minutes
North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who is in his 14th season with the Tar Heels, won his third title (2005, 2009, 2017), surpassing his mentor Dean Smith, who won a pair of championships (1982, 1993).
UNC trailed at halftime by three points but opened the second half on an 8-0 run to take the lead. The Tar Heels struggled with their shooting throughout the game, missing 11 straight 3-pointers during one stretch before Joel Berry II broke the drought.
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Gonzaga played in its first national championship game, compared to the 11th trip to the finals for the Tar Heels. Both teams came into the game as No. 1 seeds, with the Tar Heels coming out of the South Region, while Gonzaga was the champions of the West Region.