In a hectic finish, the North Carolina Tar Heels were able to hold off the Oregon Ducks, 77-76.
North Carolina now advances one step closer to a redemptive title after losing at the buzzer in last season’s championship game. This time they’ll play Gonzaga Monday night.
Down the stretch, with the Tar Heels holding a slim lead, the semifinal didn’t have the feel of a game that close. Perhaps because a series of timeouts disrupted the rhythm; perhaps because there wasn’t a sense that the Ducks could make a final push to get past the Tar Heels.
Oregon couldn’t deliver long-range shots in the second half — the Ducks missed 15 of their eighteen 3-point shot attempts. And North Carolina, as expected, was dominant inside. Although the rebounding total was even for the game at 43, North Carolina big man Kennedy Meeks, 6’10” at 260 pounds, had his way against the undersized Ducks’ front line. The senior forward led the Tar Heels with 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds.