North Carolina players celebrate after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Gonzaga, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.
NEW YORK (AP) Perhaps with an assist from the memory of Villanova's Kris Jenkins, viewership for the NCAA national championship game between Gonzaga and North Carolina was up 30 percent from past year.
With 53 seconds left there was a scramble for the rebound of a missed 3-pointer by Joel Berry II of North Carolina.
Berry was 2-for-14 shooting in North Carolina's 77-76 semifinal win over OR but was somewhat better in the title contest, going 7 for 19 from the field but 4 for 13 from 3-point range.
Meeks' game against Gonzaga was not almost as huge as his 25-point, 14-rebound effort against OR in a national semifinal Saturday, but he still finished the Final Four with 32 points and 24 rebounds in two games.
North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks places his right hand outside of the line as Meeks and Gonzaga's Silas Melson (0) battle for a loose ball during the second half in the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament. His rejection of a shot by a driving Nigel Williams-Goss led to a decisive fastbreak dunk by Justin Jackson with 12 seconds left.
He hit his first shot, a 3-pointer from the left wing, but unlike Saturday night in the national semifinals against OR, when he would miss his 12 of his next 13 shots, Berry didn't go cold.
To set the scene, the Tar Heels had trailed nearly all of the first half but were staging a mild comeback when Meeks got fouled with less than a minute left and Gonzaga ahead 33-30. Congrats to the University of North Carolina for another NCAA Championship, and congrats to Gonzaga for an incredible season and for putting up quite a fight in the season finale!
Berry, the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, scored 13 points in the second half, the opposite of his performance a year ago in the final, when he scored just five after intermission.
"Isaiah, my boy has been struggling like a dog, but tonight he looked like a greyhound there a couple of times there a couple times there at the end", Williams said.
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"All I know is the clock is running down and we needed a shot and I just took it", Hicks said on the court during UNC's postgame celebration.
Williams-Goss scored 15 points but was just 5 of 17 from the field. The Zags' big men were in foul trouble much of the second half, which helped Carolina's cause.
"It was a slugfest out there", Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said.
"We were negotiating our way through massive foul trouble, ones that we haven't had all year", Few said.
Meeks then went to the free-throw line, shot two and missed both.
After trailing for most of the first half, creating extra possessions is how the Tar Heels took the controlling position in the second.
"I jumped on them at the first of the half and I told the staff I was going to, but I was going to try to give them something at the end", Williams said.
Williams hinted Monday that that his team would pass on a meet and greet with Donald Trump if they were asked to come to Washington at all. The freshman blocked three shots and got seven rebounds in the game, but also turned the ball over four times and fouled out with more than five minutes left to play.