Kansas vs. UNC score, takeaway: Jayhawks complete historic comeback to win first NCAA championship since 2008

A meeting of college basketball powerhouses in Monday night’s national title game delivered a game for the ages as Kansas rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat North Carolina 72-69 and securing the program’s fourth national championship. The Jayhawks’ furious rally marked the biggest comeback ever in a national title game, beating Loyola-Chicago’s 15-point comeback against Cincinnati in the 1963 title game.

David McCormack scored a critical go-ahead with 1:21 left to put Kansas ahead 70-69. Then he added another bucket with 22 seconds left to make it a 72-69 advantage. North Carolina missed 3 straight points on the ensuing possession and a look from the top of the key at the buzzer to cement the result.

Kansas took an early 7-0 lead but were outscored 40-18 over the remainder of the first half as the Tar Heels dominated the offensive glass for an 18-2 second-point advantage. luck before the break. But everything coach Bill Self said to the Jayhawks at halftime worked wonders as KU came out of the locker room with a 31-10 push.

McCormack finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds and was notably behind while battling with injured UNC big man Armando Bacot. The Tar Heels junior center was playing on a twisted ankle that he re-injured while maneuvering for a potential go-ahead in the final minute. But he got the better of McCormack in the first half before McCormack offered key plays late in an epic finish.

Here are the takeaways from a classic Monday night national title game in New Orleans.

Redemption by David McCormack

When David McCormack hit a jumper less than a minute into the game to give the Jayhawks a 5-0 lead, it looked like he was picking up where he left off in a semi-final victory against Villanova on Saturday. In that 81-65 KU win, he scored a season-high 25 points. With Bacot hobbled and McCormack on confidence from Saturday’s performance, early feedback suggested the Jayhawks might have an inside advantage.

Bacot struggled early on, but as the half wore on, the injured UNC warrior repeatedly got the better of McCormack, who left the game with 4:17 left in the first. half-time after committing his second foul. His exit came in the middle of a 16-0 run for North Carolina, and things didn’t improve in McCormack’s absence.

But in the second half, the KU big man found his place. He finished with his 11th double-double of the season, and his two baskets in the last two minutes were the difference. McCormack’s career has had its ups and downs, and it came to fruition in Monday’s game. In the end, it ended on the best as he lifted the Jayhawks to a national title.

Actors appear

The trio of Remy Martin, Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson combined to shoot 3 of 18 from the floor in the first half for Kansas. In the second half, those same three players combined to make 13 of 18 shots from the field. Wilson tied McCormack for a team-high 15 points, and Braun added a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Martin, meanwhile, had all four shot attempts in the second half, including a 3-point trio.

While Agbaji and McCormack were arguably the most important players on this Kansas team all season, what sets the Jayhawks apart are their players. In particular, Braun and Wilson’s dynamic play as players with a unique combination of size and versatility has made KU a tough game all season.

With Agbaji, Martin and McCormack as seniors in this season’s squad, Braun and Wilson’s display is perhaps just a preview of things to come. While either or both could choose to test the waters of the NBA draft, the pair of dynamic point guards could make Kansas a repeat contender as national champions if they return the season. next.

UNC is running out of star power

Bacot put the Tar Heels on their backs in the first half but ran out of gas in the second half, going 0 for 6 from the floor after halftime. With 50 seconds remaining, he twisted his injured right ankle again and fell to the ground in agony while making a move to the basket with the Tar Heels trailing 70-69.

The play was symbolic of how Bacot gave it his all before hitting a literal break point in the final minute of the match. With guards RJ Davis and Caleb Love combined to shoot 10 of 41 from the floor, North Carolina simply lacked the firepower it needed in the second half to keep pace with the scorching Jayhawks.

eeSophomore striker Puff Johnson provided a huge boost from the bench with 11 points, including nine in the second half as he played long minutes due to Leaky Black’s foul issues. But a UNC team that got so many clutch buckets from Love, Davis, Brady Manek and Bacot in a memorable run only needed one or two more to cross the finish line.

Kansas Jayhawks Championship Kit Launch

The Jayhawks won their first national title since 2008. Now you can shop shirts, hats, jerseys, hoodies and more to celebrate this historic victory. Get gear here now.

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