The Oregon Ducks had two shots to grab a rebound for a chance to win the game, and both times it was the UNC big men who dominated the boards when it counted. Kennedy Meeks had an offensive rebound off a missed free throw, capping off a 77-76 Tar Heel win over the Ducks. The win sends the Tar Heels to a second straight National Championship Game, as they were led by Meeks' 25 points. They return to the same stage that they fell to Villanova at the buzzer just one year ago. Meeks was very efficient on the night, shooting 11-of-13 from the floor, tying a career-high in points, and adding 14 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. Justin Jackson also helped out with 22 points, and played a big role on the defensive end, as UNC held Oregon to just 37 percent shooting. Jordan Bell was very hard on himself following the loss, as he missed out on both potential rebounds in the final seconds. The big man states that he "lost the game" for Oregon, despite finishing with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Gonzaga Holds Off South Carolina, Reaches First Title Game
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are a top story of the tournament, but they also took out another major headline in No. 7 South Carolina. Gonzaga held off the Gamecocks late, ending their impressive run in the Final Four with a 77-73 victory. The Bulldogs shot nearly 50 percent from the floor, led by Nigel Williams-Goss's 23 points, to advance to their first National Title Game. The top-seeded Bulldogs were led by their big men, Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins, who combined for 27 points and 18 rebounds. The freshman Collins also had a career-high five blocks on the night, finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Gonzaga led by as many as 14 in the second half, but the Gamecocks used a 14-0 run to tie the game with just over five minutes to play. South Carolina could not complete the comeback, and was led by P.J. Dozier's 17 points in the loss. So it will be a battle of top seeds in the Title Game, with Gonzaga from the West Region battling North Carolina from the South Region on Monday night.
Bulls Slip Past Hawks, in to 7th in East
The Chicago Bulls have lost veteran Dwayne Wade for the remainder of the season, but that has not stopped them from making a late run to the playoffs. The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler's 33 points in a 106-104 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, moving them into the seven-seed in the East. Chicago ended the game on a 15-4 run, which was fueled by Butler, who scored his team's final nine points. That includes two clutch free throws with 2.1 seconds left, sealing the Bulls' 37th victory. They are now 23-16 on their home floor, finishing off another home win when Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. The victory was Chicago's third in a row, as Rajon Rondo also played a big role with a season-high 25 points and 11 rebounds. Denzel Valentine chipped in 13 points, helping Chicago snap a seven-game losing streak against the Hawks. Atlanta did get 29 points from Dennis Schroder, 20 from Hardaway, and a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds from Dwight Howard in their 37th loss of the year.