Kansas crowned national champions after 72-69 win over North Carolina originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Kansas Jayhawks are national champions.
No. 1 Kansas defeated No. 8 North Carolina 72-69 in the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship on Monday, making it the fourth title in the school history.
Kansas soared to a 7-0 lead, similar to its dominance against Villanova in the Final Four. But the Tar Heels responded quickly and took control of the game with relentless hustle.
Armando Bacot’s offensive rebounding prowess gave UNC a 14-0 advantage in second chance points early on while Kansas suffered a 1-for-7 stretch on offense, allowing North Carolina to take a 28-22 lead after two Brady Manek triples.
North Carolina continued playing bully ball on both ends as it went on a 16-0 run to take a 38-22 lead with 2:17 remaining. Kansas, on the other hand, went 5:40 without a field goal before Ochai Agbaji ended the drought with 23 seconds left, but the Jayhawks trailed 40-25 at the end of the half.
Kansas, however, roared back into the game to start the second half. A 20-6 run led by Christian Braun’s eight points saw North Carolina’s 15-point halftime lead collapse to just one with 12:41 remaining.
The Tar Heels went cold from the field and couldn’t hit open shots, leading to easy transition layups for the Jayhawks.
After an Agbaji free throw tied the game at 50 apiece, a Remy Martin corner triple gave the Jayhawks the lead with 10 minutes to play. North Carolina had been outscored 31-10 since halftime.
Both teams kept going back and forth for the rest of the quarter. Kansas led 70-69 with 38 seconds left when Bacot went down with an ankle injury, temporarily pausing the game. The Jayhawks immediately went to David McCormack down low, who took advantage with a bucket.
North Carolina pushed the ball down the floor quickly but hoisted tough shots that didn’t fall, and Dajuan Harris Jr. stepped out of bounds on the ensuing inbounds play, giving UNC one more possession with 4.3 seconds left.
Caleb Love’s last attempt to send the game to overtime with a 3-pointer came up short, and the Jayhawks completed the largest comeback in championship game history.
“I can’t remember a time in my life where I should be disappointed," said rookie UNC coach Hubert Davis, who was trying to become the first person to lead a team to a title in his first full year as head coach. "But I am filled with so much pride.”
McCormack and Jalen Wilson led the Jayhawks with 15 points apiece. Martin added 14 off the bench, including two huge 3s in the second half.
“We just locked in as a family, as a team, and that’s what we do,” said McCormack, after making the last two baskets of the game. “We overcome the odds. We overcome adversity. We’re just built for this.”
Kansas last won the national championship in 2008.