North Carolina forward Theo Pinson has been the source of comedic relief for the Tar Heels throughout this remarkable NCAA title run. Just two days earlier, those two powered Gonzaga past SC in the Final Four.
It was the sixth NCAA title for UNC and third for head coach Roy Williams, joining a select group of coaches with three or more titles.
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip). But the Tar Heels (33-7) didn't let that scenario shape up on Monday against Gonzaga (37-2), who was in the national championship game for the first time.
Gonzaga might not attract future National Basketball Association lottery picks, but Mark Few's brand extends beyond the United States, attracting worldwide players and transfers like Nigel Williams-Goss to Spokane.
"People asked me for the last day and a half if he was going to come", North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said with a laugh Tuesday on the "Dan Patrick Show".
On Monday, the University of North Carolina battled for the men's college basketball national championship with a guiding objective: Redemption.
All the pundits were talking about redemption, after a last-second loss in last year's title game left Tar Heelia in distress.
Winning a bet and a national title? That pushed the lead to five with 12 seconds left in a physical battle with plenty of whistles.
"Probably on me", said Gonzaga coach Mark Few, whose first knowledge of the call came in the postgame press conference. He is averaging a career-high 9.4 rebounds this season.
Several late breaks can sway a game, but North Carolina just out-executed the Zags down the stretch.More news: Nunes Encourages Whistle-Blowers To Come Forward On Trump Surveillance
As someone who was in college just two years ago, I really can't blame these UNC students for celebrating like they did.
Gonzaga players sit in the locker room after the finals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against North Carolina, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.
"I'm not going to talk about the refs", said Gonzaga's Pzemek Karnowski. We can't get a delay and say we're not ready.
A big question is whether Collins will return for his sophomore year. He had 22 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Seemingly every time Carolina missed a layup (Theo Pinson went up too hard multiple times), OR did one better on the other end by either jacking up a shot too quickly OR trying to challenge Carolina's big men inside the paint.
Freshman big man Tony Bradley (7.1 points, 5.1 rebounds) told the AP after the title game that he will declare for the draft to get National Basketball Association feedback - though his father later told Inside Carolina that the family is still discussing options.
Williams-Goss led the Bulldogs with 15 points, but twisted his ankle on the ensuing trip and could not elevate for a jumper that would have given the Bulldogs the lead.
But this wasn't the game either team expected to play, and both deserved better in an event of this magnitude.
But numerous calls were questionable and seemed to affect the Zags more adversely.
"We broke the glass ceiling everyone said we couldn't break", junior forward Johnathan Williams said. Little-used Rui Hachimura, a player from Japan with huge potential, is also back. They persevered to win for the first time all year when they were out-rebounded.
North Carolina will present a different problem for the Zags.