Two historic programs put on a historic Elite 8 contest on Sunday night, which ended in a moment that will go down in history. Luke Maye hit the game-winning shot with 0.3 seconds left, giving the North Carolina Tar Heels a 75-73 win over the Kentucky Wildcats. The win gives the Tar Heels their second straight Final Four appearance, and 20th in school history. UNC took a lead late with 12 straight points with five minutes left, and finished the game on a 16-9 run. Maye ended up with a career-high 17 points on the night, while Justin Jackson added 19 points for the Tar Heels. The top seed in the South lost Joel Berry II, who left with an ankle injury, but did return and finished with 11 points. This Elite 8 matchup was a National Title-caliber contest, featuring the two schools who own the most tournament victories in history. North Carolina advances to battle Oregon in Arizona on Saturday night.
South Carolina Continues Run to First Final Four
The South Carolina Gamecocks have turned into the story of the tournament, as they got past conference rival, Florida, on Sunday in the Elite 8, 77-70. The win gives the Gamecocks their first ever Final Four appearance, as they overcame a seven-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Gators by 14 in the second half. Sindarius Thornwell led the way once again with 26 points in a game that had 14 lead changes and 10 ties throughout. The final lead change came on Thornwell's free throws with 2:24 left, as Florida made just three field goals in the final 3:55 of the game. Thornwell was named regional MVP following the win, as he rallied his team to another victory with eight straight points in the second half. Justin Leon had 18 points for the Gators, who shot 0-for-14 from beyond the arc in the second half, after going 7-for-12 from three-point range in the first half. The Gamecocks will battle another team in their first Final Four, as they are paired with No. 1 Gonzaga on Saturday.
Harden, Rockets Get Past Westbrook, Thunder
It was a battle of two favorites in the NBA MVP race on Sunday afternoon, and it was the bearded one who came away victorious. James Harden had 22 points and 12 assists to help his Houston Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 36th triple-double in a 137-125 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lou Williams led the Rockets with 31 points off the bench, as his Houston team never trailed in the game. Westbrook finished with 39 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds for his second straight triple-double. Although, it was not enough, as OKC trailed by as many as 25 after three quarters. They did rally to cut the lead down to eight with 90 seconds left, but could not get any closer. Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon added 24 points apiece for the Rockets, who improved to 28-9 on their home floor. Harden did leave the game with a wrist injury, which was wrapped after the game, but is said to be okay.