GLENDALE, Ariz. — Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson combined for 47 points to help No. 1 seed North Carolina hold off Oregon 77-76 at the Final Four on Saturday night to advance to the national championship game.
The victory for the Tar Heels (32-7) earned them a place in Monday night’s NCAA Tournament title game against Gonzaga and they will be seeking to win the program’s sixth national crown.
Meeks connected on 11-of-13 shots from the field to match his career high with 25 points and had 13 rebounds with three steals.
He also II, who missed the free throw that Meeks tore away from Jordan Bell to ice the game
while Jackson made four 3-pointers and scored 22 points for the Tar Heels (32-7).
“If it wasn’t for Kennedy Meeks, we wouldn’t have been in the basketball game,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.
Joel Berry II scored 11 points, but went only 2-of-14 from the floor for North Carolina, which shot 36.8 percent (25 of 68) and out assisted Oregon 16-7.
“I just didn’t want to lose another game off a winning shot,” said Berry. “I wish we would have closed it out.”
Tyler Dorsey led the third-seeded Ducks (33-6) with 21 points, while Dylan Ennis added 18 and six rebounds in the defeat.
Jordan Bell grabbed a double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds to go with four blocks and Dillon Brooks ended with 10 points and six rebounds for the Pac-12 outfits, who shot 37.9 (22-of-58) in the defeat.
“Jordan felt terrible,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “But I told him, ‘Buddy, you got 16 rebounds. We wouldn’t have been in this position if it hadn’t been for you.'”
Both teams finished the game with 43 rebounds each, but North Carolina had the edge on the offensive side with 17-12 and helped the Tar Heels to get 19 second-chance points.
Monday night NCAA Tournament national championships game will take place at the University of Phoenix Stadium here in Glendale, Arizona.
Game time is set for 9:20 PM ET on CBS and it will also stream live online.
The Tar Heels start as early 1.5 point favourites.