KANSAS 72 – NORTH CAROLINA 69
In a tournament that has left us with one stunning and exhilarating moment after another this year, the National Title game didn’t disappoint as the Kansas Jayhawks stormed back from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina 72-69 on Monday night. The victory captured Kansas’ fourth ever national title, and second under Head Coach Bill Self.
The deficit, which at one point was 16-points, was the the largest deficit ever overcome to win a championship, surpassing the 15-points set by Loyola-Chicago against Cincinnati in 1963.
Late in the first half, North Carolina exploded, going on a 16-0 run with Brady Manek leading the way on a pair of huge three pointers, and Armando Bacot and R.J. Davis proving to be difficult to defend inside the paint, as the Tar Heels built a 38-22 lead, en route to a 40-25 halftime lead.
It felt like the game was going to be North Carolina’s for the taking.
But like they did against Miami in the Elite Eight, Kansas stormed back with a huge second half. The Jayhawks scored 47 points to North Carolina’s 29 to come away with the title.
It all started with David McCormack’s slam dunk in the opening minute of the second half that turned the page for the JayHawks. Minutes later Christian Braun connected on consecutive buckets to pull Kansas to within nine-points, 40-31.
Kansas eventually narrowed the deficit down to three points when McCormack hit another jumper with 13:11 to go to make it a 46-43 ball game. After a Carolina turnover, Braun made the layup to cut the deficit down to a single point with 12:42 to go.
Kansas eventually tied the game at 50 on a free throw by Ochai Agbaji, and quickly took the lead after Bacot missed an open three, and Remy Martin answered with a three-ball of his own to put Kansas up 53-50.
North Carolina didn’t go away quietly. The Tar Heels tied the game twice, once at 57, and again at 65 on free throws from Manek. Martin, later hit a huge three pointer for Kansas to put the Jayhawks up 68-65 with 2:39 to go.
The Tar Heels would regain the lead, 69-68 thanks to buckets by Caleb Love and Manek. Kansas would answer quickly as David McCormack, again, played the hero, nailing a pair of jumpers to put the Jayhawks up for good at 72-69.
McCormack finished the day with 15 points on 7-for-15 shooting. The Jayhawks shot 44 percent from the field for the game, while Carolina wound up shooting a putrid 31.5 percent from the field, and 21.7 percent from downtown.
Etched in Kansas history forever 🏆 pic.twitter.com/w1VgYXM60Z— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) April 5, 2022
Confetti angels you love to see it 🙌😂 pic.twitter.com/r5UEI0oiu5— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) April 5, 2022