North Carolina defeats OR, advances to National Championship Game

North Carolina's Theo Pinson right celebrates as Oregon's Payton Pritchard walks off the court after the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament Saturday

But it took the Zags almost nearly falling apart to prove how strong they truly are. "He was the best player".

Kennedy Meeks matched his career high with 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for North Carolina. Jordan Bell has come up limping. You're either trying to tip it out or get a rebound. "And make sure you don't get fouled because apparently we can make free throws". Less than a minute later, he hit another from deep to extend the lead to seven points. That's a positive for OR, I think. OR had trouble retaining possessions, as the Ducks turned the ball over 16 times, compared to ten for the Tar Heels.

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Their pedigrees are different, but both teams are loaded with veterans.

Khris Middleton hit a 3-pointer with 40.7 seconds left in overtime, rookie Thon Maker scored a career-high 23 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 108-105 on Friday night.

OR (33-6) entered the tournament still aching from the loss of Chris Boucher, a long-limbed interior presence who led the Pacific-12 Conference in blocks before tearing a knee ligament in the conference's postseason tournament.

This national championship trophy will not be going back to Columbia, South Carolina. "We all wanted it and we kept fighting until the last possession, but it just didn't happen the way we wanted it to end".

The second half started with a back and forth battle that included back to back uncontested three-pointers from the Tar Heels Justin Jackson. The Ducks, the No. 3 seed in the Midwest, have taken a step further than last season, when they lost in the Elite Eight.

Brooks answered with two free throws and Bell had an offensive rebound and scored to get the Ducks within 66-60. The No. 1-seeded Tar Heels (31-7) are eyeing a seventh national championship after nipping Kentucky 75-73 on Sunday in an instant classic on Luke Maye's jump shot with 0.3 seconds remaining. He missed both free throws, but the Ducks were unable to box out Theo Pinson, who got the ball to Joel Berry II. But instead of getting rattled, Gonzaga settled like the veteran team it is, pounding the ball inside to Karnowski, who finished with 13 points.

Jackson finished with 22 points. "That's the bottom line", Williams said Saturday night after the Tar Heels beat OR 77-76. Feel fortunate that we're still playing. Jordan Mathews was 4 for 8 while Williams-Goss and Melson had two each and Collins had one. Email

And Charleston resident Ted Valentine was on the officiating crew for Saturday's second game between North Carolina and Oregon. For the second straight year, North Carolina opened as a 2-point favorite in Las Vegas sports books in the final college basketball game of the year.

The national championship game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Monday at 9 p.m ET. North Carolina is probably the best rebounding team that we faced all year.

The teams combined for 14 blocked shots, eight by Gonzaga.

The Oregon Ducks has 12 turnovers in the first half after three NCAA Tournament games with just 11 turnovers over that span. Before this year, it had never been to the Final Four.