NCAA March Madness came to an end, as a champion was crowned this past Monday with arguably one of the greatest National Championship games to take place in the sport’s history. The game ended with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Villanova’s Kris Jenkins against the North Carolina Tar Heels to earn the 77-74 win. This was the first buzzer-beater to win the national title since Lorenzo Charles and North Carolina State in 1983.
“That was definitely the most exciting college basketball game that I have ever watched,” said Ramapo senior Deanna Santiago. “It was back and forth the whole time. I really had no clue who was going to win. Every time there was a little bit of a lead, it was quickly a tie game again.
This was a unique game, not only in the fact that Villanova hadn’t won the National Championship game since 1985, but also because the game featured two brothers playing against each other for a lifetime’s worth of bragging rights. Jenkins’ legal guardians are Tar Heel guard Nate Britt’s parents, making this game a family affair.
“There’s nobody in the world I want to beat more than my brother. It’s not a movie script. It’s amazing how it worked out,” said Jenkins.
The game was exciting from the jump ball to the buzzer-beating finish. The lead didn’t grow further than 10 points throughout the whole game. This North Carolina team had the worst three-point shooters in the school’s history, but no one would have guessed it by the way they shot the ball during Monday night’s game. They shot 7-of-9 from three in the first half of this national title game.
However, their superb three-point shooting wasn’t enough to create a large lead against Villanova. The Wildcats were coming off a 71.4 percent shooting performance against Oklahoma in the Final Four, and they took this momentum and confidence with them against North Carolina. It showed throughout the game, especially through senior pointguard and Final Four Most Valuable Player Ryan Arcidiacono. Arcidiacono scored seven early points to allow Villanova to stay within reach of the dominating Tar Heel squad. He ended the game and his career at Villanova with 16 points.
To lead the scorers of Villanova, Phil Booth scored a career high 20 points. For North Carolina, Joel Berry II, member of the All-Tournament Team, scored 12 consecutive points for his team. Berry ended the game with 20 points, while Marcus Paige had 21, including a wild, off-balance game-tying three with 4.7 seconds left. The Tar Heels had stellar performances from their top guards – however, they failed to get the ball to their interior players, which had been their main strength throughout the tournament.
Despite the results, head coach Roy Williams had no regrets about the conclusion to the Tar Heels’ season.
“I wouldn’t trade this team for anyone,” said head coach Roy Williams during an emotional post-game conference.