Maye helps No. 9 UNC beat Northern Iowa 86-69 in opener
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Luke Maye knocked down outside jumpers, hit the glass and scored inside — even throwing in a nifty spin move on a post bucket — for the best scoring performance of his career.
Ninth-ranked North Carolina needs this version of Maye, too.
The 6-foot-8 junior had 26 points and 10 rebounds to help the Tar Heels beat Northern Iowa 86-69 in Friday night's season opener, a fast start for a one-time reserve now thrust into a leading role for the reigning national champions.
North Carolina preview capsule
Last season: 33-7, won program's sixth NCAA championship.
Nickname: Tar Heels.
Coach: Roy Williams.
Conference: Atlantic Coast.
Who's gone: SF Justin Jackson, F/C Kennedy Meeks, F Isaiah Hicks, F Tony Bradley Jr., G Nate Britt.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina has signed 6-foot-10 forward Garrison Brooks as a late recruiting addition to bolster a depleted frontcourt.
The Tar Heels announced Brooks' signing Monday. The Lafayette, Alabama product and four-star prospect had originally signed with Mississippi State but received a release last month to reopen his recruitment.
So maybe someone should have emailed or called the NCAA late in Monday’s championship game between Gonzaga and North Carolina and let them know there was an important missed call right in front of a referee.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina coach Roy Williams didn't have to struggle for words this time, not after the Tar Heels made good on their season-long drive to win the national championship that slipped away last year.
"The most fun as a coach is seeing the looks on your guys' faces when they accomplish something very difficult," Williams told thousands of fans who greeted the Tar Heels when they returned to campus Tuesday with the program's sixth NCAA championship.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — So many of them touched the ball in the final seconds, Justin Jackson dunking, Joel Berry stealing the pass, Kennedy Meeks blocking a shot, Isaiah Hicks with the biggest basket of his career on the final basket of his career, Theo Pinson hurling the ball into the air as time expired.
It was like everyone had to get a piece of it, the redemption they sought for so long, finally at hand. North Carolina would not be denied this time, not by a buzzer-beater, not by anyone.
North Carolina reached deep into its bag of big plays to defeat Gonzaga
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Gonzaga was able to counteract North Carolina’s biggest strength, outrebounding the Tar Heels 49-46. They also shut down the Carolina offense for the most part, holding UNC to 35.6 percent shooting from the field.
But the new national champions found other ways to win.
UNC usually creates extra possessions through superior rebounding. The Tar Heels average 13 more rebounds per game than their opponent, a stat only one other team has matched since 1980.
Kennedy Meeks saves North Carolina from another title game disappointment
GLENDALE, Ariz. – One year after North Carolina’s championship hopes were dashed by another team’s one shining moment, Kennedy Meeks made sure it did not happen again.
With 16 seconds left, Nigel Williams-Goss let fly a floater that would have cut UNC’s lead to one point. Williams-Goss sent it straight into the wrist of Meeks, who had hidden behind another player and stormed into the play once the shot was already in motion.
Nigel Williams-Goss, Zach Collins named to NCAA All-Tournament team
GLENDALE, Ariz.—Redshirt junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss and freshman center Zach Collins, along with North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks, Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II, were named to the NCAA men’s basketball championship all-Tournament team after the conclusion of the Bulldogs’ 71-65 loss to North Carolina in the national championship game.
Berry II from UNC was named the Most Outstanding Player.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The 2016-17 season is over, with North Carolina holding off Gonzaga to win the national championship for the program's sixth NCAA title.
The win for the Tar Heels wrapped up the season's biggest story line: How North Carolina would bounce back from a buzzer-beating loss in last year's finale.
Let's take an early look at some of the threads to watch leading into next season. March Madness set up preludes to next season for numerous programs, players and coaches:
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The official was right there standing over the play.
North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks and Gonzaga's Silas Melson were on the floor trying to corral a rebound with 53 seconds left in the NCAA championship game with the Tar Heels up by one Monday night.
Despite 2 bad ankles, Berry named outstanding player
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Joel Berry II headed a trio of players for national champion North Carolina named to the all-tournament team for the Final Four.
Berry, hobbled by two bad ankles, played well enough in the championship game Monday night after a clunker in the semifinals to be named the outstanding player of the Final Four.
Berry was joined by teammates Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson.
Runner-up Gonzaga had the other two players on the team — Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Two of the top teams coming into March Madness are set to settle the title in the 67th game of the NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina and Gonzaga play Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. Tipoff is set for about 6:20 p.m. local time, 9:20 p.m. EDT.
The final pits two of the most elite teams in college hoops against one another: both the Tar Heels and the Bulldogs boast top-level coaches, guards and interior players.
Some things to watch in the NCAA championship game
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Some things to watch for in Monday night's NCAA championship game:
IN THE MIDDLE
Both teams have size in the middle and quality depth at the position.
Gonzaga's 7-foot-1, 300-pound Przemek Karnowski will go at North Carolina's 6-10, 260-pound Kennedy Meeks.
NCAA Championship a matchup for big men
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — If you like watching basketball played with big men in the middle, the NCAA Tournament championship game will be a can't-miss event.
Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski, who weighs in at 7-foot-1 and 300 pounds, will go head-to-head on Monday night with North Carolina's Kennedy Meeks, who enters the game at 6-10 and 260 pounds.
"A type of guy kind of like me, going back to the basket more so than facing up or going to the 3-point line," Karnowski said of Meeks, a fellow senior.
One of Gonzaga’s built-in advantages most of the season will be challenged by North Carolina in the championship game.
The Zags operate inside out with a versatile collection of bigs in Przemek Karnowski, Johnathan Williams, Zach Collins and Killian Tillie. The Tar Heels are a mirror image with 6-foot-10 Kennedy Meeks, 6-9 Isaiah Hicks, 6-8 Justin Jackson and sizable options off the bench.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Ducks just couldn’t put a stop to Kennedy Meeks.
The senior forward was the only player in Carolina blue who could break through the Oregon defense inside. He was the only one who could consistently get baskets for the Tar Heels.
He was also the last one to pull away Oregon’s final hope for a date with Gonzaga on Monday for the NCAA Tournament finale.
Kennedy Meeks, Justin Jackson hold the key to victory for the North Carolina Tar Heels
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Two juggernauts will go head-to-head on Monday, and with all due respect to the No. 1 seeds competing for a national championship, we’re not talking about the teams.
There are few players able to use their size as a weapon against Gonzaga’s 7-foot-1, 300-pound center Przemek Karnowski. But 6-10, 260-pound Kennedy Meeks may be one of them.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Their pedigrees are different, but both teams are loaded with veterans. Both have some heft in the middle.
When Gonzaga meets North Carolina for the NCAA national championship on Monday night, it could be quite a brawl.
"They're big just like us and they match up with us pretty well," North Carolina's Theo Pinson said. "Their guards are really good. We just got to play the game and execute."
North Carolina knows what it's supposed to do during free throws. The Tar Heels work on rebounding misses regularly, although they don't exactly practice tipouts like Theo Pinson's game-saving touch.
"I knew I had to bid on it and see what happens," Pinson said. "That was so nerve-racking, but I was just so happy."
Gonzaga, North Carolina a hefty NCAA title matchup
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Two No. 1 seeds, one in its first Final Four, the other a perennial contender, will meet for the NCAA national championship.
It could be quite a brawl.
When Gonzaga meets North Carolina Monday night, it's a matchup of marauding big men in the middle and deep rosters.
"They're big just like us and they match up with us pretty well," North Carolina's Theo Pinson said. "Their guards are really good. We just got to play the game and execute."
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kennedy Meeks relentlessly attacked the boards, posting up deep in the paint and playing with an aggressive edge that hasn't always been there through his North Carolina career.
The Tar Heels needed every bit of it, too, to survive against Oregon in the Final Four.
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — North Carolina missed the shots. No surprise there.
Kennedy Meeks saved the game. No surprise there, either.
Meeks, the only Tar Heel who could shoot straight Saturday night, muscled away the game-saving offensive rebound in a 77-76 victory over Oregon after ice-cold Carolina missed its fourth straight free throw down the stretch.
FINAL: UNC 77, Oregon 76: Kennedy Meeks scored 25 points and pulled down 14 rebounds Saturday as No. 1 seed UNC defeated No. 3 Oregon 77-76 to reach Monday’s NCAA National Championship game where they will face Gonzaga.
The Tar Heels are seeking their seventh men’s basketball national championship and first since 2009.
The Latest: North Carolina against Gonzaga in final
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on the semifinal games in the Final Four: (all times local):
Two college basketball programs on opposite ends of the country and with much different histories will face off for the national championship on Monday.
North Carolina and Gonzaga pulled out hard-fought wins in the semifinals to set the stage for the title game. North Carolina has five national titles, and Gonzaga is making its first appearance in a championship game.
Starters: Theo Pinson – guard, Joel Berry II – guard, Kennedy Meeks – forward, Isaiah Hicks - forward, Justin Jackson - forward
Maye’s last-second shot lifts North Carolina to Final Four in 75-73 win over Kentucky
FINAL: UNC 75, Kentucky 73: Luke Maye hit the game-winning shot with 0.3 seconds to play as No. 1 seed North Carolina advanced to their 20th Final Four Sunday with a hard-fought 75-73 win over No. 2 Kentucky in Memphis.
UNC was led by Justin Jackson’s 19 points and Kennedy Meeks’ 17 rebounds. Maye finished with 17 points and three rebounds.
The Tar Heels will take on Oregon out of the PAC 12 Saturday in Phoenix. The other semifinal will feature Gonzaga against South Carolina.
FINAL: UNC 92, Butler 80: Luke Maye recorded his first career double-double, Joel Berry scored a game-high 26 points Friday and No. 1 seed UNC beat No. 4 Butler 92-80 to advance to the Elite Eight.
The Tar Heels will take on the winner of No. 3 UCLA and No. 2 Kentucky Sunday in Memphis.
3:57 2nd: UNC 83, Butler 68: The Tar Heels lead is 15 at the final media break. Justin Jackson is at 24 points and 5 rebounds. Joel Berry has 20.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — North Carolina's players talked all year about their run to last year's NCAA championship game — that, as painful as the loss was, it prepared them for another Final Four push.
On Sunday, down to a handful of possessions with their season suddenly in peril, the Tar Heels' experience saved them from a stunningly early exit.
FINAL: UNC 72, Arkansas 65
Bing Predicts winner: North Carolina (82 percent)Region: SouthLocation: Greenville, South CarolinaOpening line: UNC -25Tipoff time: 4:00 p.m. EST (Friday)North Carolina leads the country in rebounding margin at plus-12.7 per game. The gap between the Tar Heels and the next-best team (Saint Mary's) is a whopping 3.4 rebounds per game. Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks should be able to do whatever they want against Texas Southern's undersized frontline.
North Carolina nearly put Duke out of business at the Barclays Center a couple of times.
The Tar Heels’ Kennedy Meeks established himself inside early and often. Meeks scored eight of the Tar Heels’ first 10 points and powered his team to an early 21-13 lead. With Joel Berry pushing the pace, and Mike Krzyzewski worrying to himself that Carolina might wear his team out, Grayson Allen came off the bench hoping to give his team some energy.
FINAL. Miami: 53, North Carolina: 78.
Isaiah Hicks scored 19 points for North Carolina as the top-seeded Tar Heels beat Miami 78-53 to advance to Friday's first semifinal. Justin Jackson, Joel Berry and Kennedy Meeks also scored in double digits for UNC in the win.
NEW YORK (AP) — Isaiah Hicks had 19 points and No. 6 North Carolina certainly looked like a national championship contender in its postseason debut, beating Miami 78-53 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
The top-seeded Tar Heels (27-6) got 12 points from ACC player of the year Justin Jackson and held the smaller Hurricanes to 36 percent shooting, setting up a semifinal Friday night against archrival Duke or No. 8 Louisville.
No. 8 Tar Heels top No. 7 Cardinals 74-63, stretch ACC lead
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — No. 8 North Carolina kept hitting the glass, making its free throws and hitting its outside shots.
The Tar Heels played tough enough, too, to push their way past No. 7 Louisville's physical defense and strengthen their grip on the Atlantic Coast Conference lead.
Justin Jackson scored 21 points and the Tar Heels pulled away after halftime to beat the Cardinals 74-63 on Wednesday night, pushing to a two-game lead in the league standings with three games left.
Jackson, No. 10 Tar Heels roll past No. 14 Cavaliers 65-41
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina managed to speed up the tempo on Virginia's methodical offense and kept the pressure on a defense that came in surrendering the fewest points in the nation.
The result was the 10th-ranked Tar Heels maintaining their grip on first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference — and doing it in impressively lopsided fashion despite playing a pace far slower than they'd prefer.
No. 12 UNC holds on to beat Pitt, 80-78
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — No. 12 North Carolina found itself in an unexpected fight down the stretch against the Atlantic Coast Conference's last-place team.
Coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels didn't panic. Instead they embraced the situation, and it led to a gritty victory that might not impress very many people beyond their locker room.
North Carolina held on to beat Pittsburgh 80-78 on Tuesday night behind 20 points from Justin Jackson.
No. 9 Tar Heels beat Hokies 91-72 for 7th straight win
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — No. 9 North Carolina is putting up big offensive numbers, knocking down 3-pointers and hitting the glass better than any team in the country. Coach Roy Williams wants his team to play some tougher defense with all that, too.
Justin Jackson scored 26 points and UNC hit a season-high 14 3-pointers to beat Virginia Tech 91-72 on Thursday night.
No. 9 North Carolina beats Boston College 90-82
BOSTON (AP) — No. 9 North Carolina managed to get away from the one who got away.
The Tar Heels beat Boston College 90-82 on Saturday despite 33 points from Eagles freshman Ky Bowman, who had originally committed to play wide receiver for Carolina before opting for basketball instead.
Bowman scored 10 straight points in the first half to erase a 27-17 deficit and helped BC remain within one or two possessions for most of the game.
No. 11 North Carolina's 96-83 win against No. 9 Florida State was everything a Top 15 matchup should be. There were five ties and five lead changes between the Noles (16-2, 4-1 ACC) and Heels (16-3, 4-1 ACC) before Roy William's home team handed Leonard Hamilton's its first conference loss of the season and ended FSU's longest winning streak ever after 12 straight wins.
But before UNC put the game away with an 8-0 run late in the second, it was never a double-digit game.
No. 11 UNC blows big lead, holds off Wake Forest 93-87
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina didn't play well defensively and had all kinds of trouble protecting a big lead.
Still, for coach Roy Williams, doing just enough to win was good enough.
Justin Jackson hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:03 left to help the 11th-ranked Tar Heels hold off Wake Forest 93-87 on Wednesday night, fighting to the finish to beat an instate league opponent days after blowing out another by 51 points.
Berry’s career night leads No. 14 North Carolina
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Joel Berry II was angry with his play in North Carolina's loss to Georgia Tech last Saturday. He made up for that with a career night at Clemson.
Berry had career highs with 31 points and seven 3-pointers as the 14th-ranked Tar Heels bounced back from their Atlantic Coast Conference opening loss with an 89-86 overtime victory Tuesday night.
Kennedy Meeks' basket with 1:12 left in overtime put North Carolina (13-3, 1-1) ahead for good.
Jackson leads No. 9 UNC past Monmouth, 102-74
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Justin Jackson is clicking just in time for No. 9 North Carolina to start conference play.
Jackson scored 28 points to lead the Tar Heels past Monmouth 102-74 on Wednesday night.
"Just seeing him come out like that is, like, 'Wow,'" teammate Isaiah Hicks said. "We're kind of like, 'All right, Justin, what are you going to do?'"
Kennedy Meeks made head coach Roy Williams' Christmas wish of better second half defense come true, changing the game for North Carolina on both ends of the floor in Wednesday night's non-ACC finale as the Tar Heels (11-2) beat the Northern Iowa Panthers (5-6) 85-42.
"I did feel that he was the difference in the game the second half," head coach Roy Williams said. "He was into it, he got his arm out there denying. You saw him switching, you saw im playing defense the way he can play."
Meeks leads No. 8 UNC past Northern Iowa, 85-42
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Once Kennedy Meeks got going for No. 8 North Carolina, nothing could stop him. Northern Iowa certainly couldn't.
Meeks scored 10 of his 18 points during the Tar Heels' dominant second half, leading them past the Panthers 85-42 on Wednesday night.
"He was the difference in the game," Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams said.
Justin Jackson added 12 points while Joel Berry II and Isaiah Hicks finished with 11 apiece for the Tar Heels (11-2).
No. 5 North Carolina rolls past Long Beach State 93-67
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina keeps sharing the ball and putting up big numbers, proving the fifth-ranked Tar Heels still have plenty of offensive punch despite losing a lot of production from last year.
Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams is more focused on getting more consistency from his team on the defensive end, and maybe a little more attention to detail, too.