Game history

Kansas tops North Carolina with biggest comeback in league game history to win fourth national title

NEW ORLEANS – Kansas brought home its fourth NCAA title on Monday with a second-half flurry that erased a 16-point deficit and ultimately defeated North Carolina 72-69 in an epic battle of power programs. .

It was the biggest comeback in title game history, topping Kentucky’s 10-point rally to beat Utah in 1998.

David McCormack scored the go-ahead bucket from close range with 1:21 left, then another in the 22nd second to give the Jayhawks a three-point lead. North Carolina has missed its last four shots, including Caleb Love’s 3-point desperation at the buzzer. His lift barely scratched the edge after officials ruled Kansas guard Dajuan Harris was out on an inbounds pass with 4.3 seconds left.

The Tar Heels went scoreless through the 1:41 final.

After McCormick’s bucket, Love’s shot was blocked but North Carolina got an offensive rebound and fed Armando Bacot under the bucket. But the big man lost his footing and turned it around, then limped off the pitch, unable to come back.

Hindered all night, the 6-foot-10 junior hit a double-double at halftime but faded after the break as Kansas erased a 15-point halftime deficit. That was before Bacot re-injured his ankle in a final-minute crash and went out one last time, ending his night – and the Tar Heels’ remarkable playoff push – at a winning a national championship.

Kansas head coach Bill Self cut the net after their win over North Carolina on Monday night in New Orleans.David J. Phillip/Associated Press

That put Brady Manek, a weaker inside defenseman, on McCormack, and the Kansas big man backed Manek up for the shot that put the Jayhawks ahead by three.

Bacot had 12 points and 10 rebounds at halftime to become the first player in tournament history to achieve six double-doubles in a single tournament. But he missed 10 of 13 shots and got almost all of his production on the foul line.

With Bacot struggling and no other player capable of replacing him, UNC shot just 31.5 percent and went 5 of 23 from 3-point range.

McCormack and Jalen Wilson led Kansas with 15 points apiece. Christian Braun scored 10 of 12 in the second half and transfer Remy Martin hit 11 of 14 in the final 20 minutes as the Jayhawks turned what looked like a lost cause into one of their finest all-time wins.

Carolina had scored 16 straight points by the end of the first half to open a 40-25 advantage at the break, but top-seeded Kansas (34-6) went on a 31-10 run at the break. during the first 10 minutes of the second to take a six-point lead and set up a fantastic finish.

Bacot had 15 points and 15 rebounds to become the first player to record double-doubles in all six tournament games. He finished the season with 31 double-doubles, but it wasn’t enough. Carolina was trying to join Villanova in 1985 as the second 8 seed to win March Madness.

North Carolina forward Armando Bacot became the first player in tournament history to hit six double-doubles in a single tournament before suffering a late injury.Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Instead, the Tar Heels (29-10) lost a win and fell to 6-6 all-time in title games. It was their record 21st – and perhaps most unlikely – trip to the Final Four. They reached the final beating Duke in a home-and-away thriller and sending Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski to retirement.

There are no banners for this, however.

Instead, another will hang at Allen Fieldhouse, and McCormack, thanks to his late-game heroics, will descend into Kansas lore with Mario Chalmers, Danny Manning and the rest of the Jayhawk greats.