Villanova Wins National Title on Buzzer Beater

Kris Jenkins hit a three with no time left to give Villanova the National Championship. The Wildcats beat North Carolina, 77-74.


Kris Jenkins shoots the ball over North Carolina Tar Heels guard Joel Berry II during the second half in the National Championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Villanova is No. 1 again.

Going the length of the court in the final 4.7 seconds, Kris Jenkins took a pass from Ryan Arcidiacono and hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Wildcats the National Championship. Villanova won 77-74.

“I inbounded the ball to Ryan, and I was able to sprint up the court and get in his vision, and I was like, ‘Ryan! Ryan!’” Jenkins said on TV postgame. “Every time I two-step it’s going up. I think every shot’s going in, so that one was no different.”

“It’s Arch’s job to make the decision,” Jay Wright said on TV postgame. “Kris told him he was going to be open. Arch made the perfect pass.”

An off-balance three-pointer by Marcus Paige had tied the game at 74 with 4.7 seconds left. The Wildcats trailed by seven, 41-34, less than a minute into the second half, but tied the score at 44 on a Mikal Bridges dunk. They grabbed their first lead in the second half on a Phil Booth jumper, then went ahead for good when Booth hit a three on the next possession. Over seven minutes, UNC went cold from the field and the Wildcats eventually extended their lead to 10. They led, 67-57, with 4:42 to play.

But North Carolina went on a 12-3 run over the next three and a half minutes to cut it to 70-69 with just a minute to play.

Villanova trailed at the half for the first time all tournament, 39-34. But the Wildcats had a four-point swing in the closing seconds to make it that close. After a steal, North Carolina’s Justin Jackson had what looked like an easy layup on the other end, but Josh Hart blocked that layup, and Booth hit a jumper just before the buzzer. What could’ve been a nine-point deficit at halftime was just five.

North Carolina led after 20 minutes due to their torrid three-point shooting. After shooting just 31.9 percent on threes coming into the game, the Tar Heels hit 7-of-9 threes in the first half. Joel Berry and Justin Jackson were both 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the smaller Wildcats had an 18-12 advantage on points in the paint. Six-foot-three guard Arcidiacono backed down Tar Heels defenders on several occasions. Villanova shot 58.3 percent from the floor in the first half — and went 3-of-7 on three pointers.

UNC had 5 offensive rebounds in the first half, and only two second-chance points. Yet Villanova still trailed by five at half. UNC got 11 offensive boards in the second half, but the Wildcats held the Tar Heels to just four threes in the second 20 minutes. The Wildcats held Brice Johnson to 14 points, three under his average.

“We played for those that came before us, baby,” Daniel Ochefu said on TV after the game. “Go Cats! Go Cats!”

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