dglobalnews.com Meeks shoots, and rebounds, and saves the day for Tar Heels
Published: Mon, April 03, 2017
Sports | By Jeannette Edwards

Meeks shoots, and rebounds, and saves the day for Tar Heels

Meeks shoots, and rebounds, and saves the day for Tar Heels

A year after having their season end with a buzzer-beater through the heart in the championship game, the Tar Heels again will play for a sixth national title Monday night after Saturday night's 77-76 win over OR in the second semifinal game at University of Phoenix Stadium.

He made sure the Tar Heels would get another chance, nearly personally willing North Carolina to a 77-76 win over OR on Saturday.

The Bulldogs and Tar Heels held off SC and OR, respectively, on Saturday to set up a meeting of two No. 1 seeds.

Gonzaga (37-1) will face the victor between North Carolina and OR in the national championship game on Monday night.

The victor advances to the NCAA championship game on Monday, April 3, 2017 against the victor of the other Final 4 game between SC and Gonzaga. It secured a Monday-night date with Gonzaga in the title game, where the Tar Heels (32-7) will go for the program's sixth title. North Carolina's offense took a long time to get going but finally picked things up, and the Tar Heels lead OR 39-36 at halftime in the nightcap of Saturday's Final Four semifinals.

It marked Meeks' fourth straight game with at least 11 rebounds, including a career-high 17 against the Wildcats in the South Regional final.

But credit North Carolina, a squad with an eye on Monday's game for the last calendar year. Bell appeared to corral the second off the backboard, but Meeks wrestled it away from him, allowing the Tar Heels to drain the clock and advance to the national title game against Gonzaga. Dylan Ennis had 18 points for the Ducks, playing one of his best games of the season, but that was the result of the Tar Heels opting to put Isaiah Hicks or Luke Maye, whoever was their four, on Ennis instead of Brooks. In my head, I just said, I had no choice.

"I like the way our guys tried to battle back and stay in the game", OR head coach Dana Altman said. He finished 2 of 14 from the field and scored five of his 11 points at the free throw line, and that just won't cut it going up against Williams-Goss. "Coach always tells us to expect a miss, and I did that and the ball fell in my hand". A year later, the senior carried an offense that struggled outside of himself and junior Justin Jackson. Making matters worse, after shooting well from the line all game, the Tar Heels went just 6-for-13 from the free-throw line after that point, although they were bailed out by their offensive rebounding, finishing with 17. "We feel very lucky and very fortunate that we're still playing", he said, "but the fact of the matter is that we're still playing".

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"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.

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - North Carolina missed the shots. Kennedy Meeks missed the first two, and the ball was tipped out to Joel Berry II for an offensive rebound with 4.0 seconds remaining.

Berry bounces back from his rough Final Four game. "I just knew that we had to be aggressive in the paint", he said.

So they danced more and listened to more music and cracked more jokes on their way back to the national title game.

"Jordan felt awful", OR coach Dana Altman said. "But I told him, 'Buddy, you got 16 rebounds".

"That's like the 50th time we've kind of answered a question about [Villanova]", Jackson said. "On a big stage like that sometimes you gotta be a little loose to get the anxiety out of the way and the butterflies and just go out there and play". "Johnathan Williams has averaged 16 points and seven rebounds while shooting 63.1 percent between the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight".

"I think that stuff just pushes us forward because we don't want the journey to end", Pinson said.

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