North Carolina rebounds to beat Ducks at Final Four

first_imgGLENDALE, Ariz. — 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, grabbed 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.All part of a career night for the North Carolina senior, who was on the bench last year when Villanova devastatingly ended the Tar Heels’ chance at a title with a 3-pointer at the buzzer.In this one, Meeks was front and center. He finished 11 for 13 to match his career high with 25 points. And he had 14 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive glass and none that was more important than the last one. It secured a Monday-night date with Gonzaga in the title game, where the Tar Heels (32-7) will go for the program’s sixth title.“If it wasn’t for Kennedy Meeks, we wouldn’t have been in the basketball game,” Carolina coach Roy Williams said.Meeks had plenty to mop up for.The rest of his team shot a brick-a-minute 14 for 55 from the floor (25 percent). Justin Jackson was one of the few to break through. He had 22 points on 6-for-13 shooting and made three 3-pointers and two free throws to help the Heels to a double-digit lead and put them on the verge of a runaway midway through the second half.Given the late lead and Oregon’s own awful shooting (37 percent), losing this one might have felt every bit as bad as the Villanova loss last year for this, a team on a mission with only one acceptable destination.last_img

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