Meeks shoots, and rebounds, and saves the day for Tar Heels

"Just ecstatic to be still playing", coach Mark Few said Saturday night after he'd celebrated his team's 77-73 win over SC with a handstand in the locker room. "Sometimes I worry that my guys get, like, it's a job". It's not as if the Tar Heels were left with a bare résumé after Villanova snatched the title from their hands in the closing seconds a year ago.

The North Carolina players have walked the fine line this season between the natural inclination to dwell on the painful loss, and the impossible task of forgetting it.

Brooks answered with two free throws and Bell had an offensive rebound and scored to get the Ducks within 66-60. He made clutch shots at the beginning of the second half, which helped burry the Ducks.

"When things got tough we banded together and pulled through", Williams-Goss said.

"We lost the game because of it".

Ducks coach Dana Altman says he's more focused on a different losing streak. "It wasn't necessarily to get back here and get back what we thought we won past year". "We just couldn't finish the game".

The games are both on CBS. Tyler Dorsey led the Ducks with 21 points, while Dylan Ennis finished with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists. OR finished seven for 26 on threes for the game.

UNC will play Gonzaga (37-1) Monday night for the national championship. A jump shot from Dozier and a split trip at the free throw line for Silva was Carolina's only points over a two minute span.

The Zags can take away the things that North Carolina does best.

But what makes North Carolina so daunting is the Tar Heels' unfinished business. A gut-wrenching loss to Villanova in a championship game classic a year ago denied Williams a third career title.

On Saturday, North Carolina built its edge with its board strength and Jackson.

The Ducks trailed by 10 late in the second half, but OR came back by limiting the Tar Heels to only 6 points in the last 5:53 of the game. And Jackson (112), Berry (74) and senior Kennedy Meeks (115) all have at least 70 career starts.

Mount Meeks: Kennedy Meeks carried the Heels with 20 points on 9-10 shooting in the first 25 minutes of the game. Just getting to the Final Four was a first, and now they are one victory from lifting the trophy.

Texas, Louisiana brace for possible flooding and tornadoes
Temperatures Friday afternoon will be cooler than Thursday but still warm in the upper 70s. "This is a statewide weather event". A strong storm system is pushing into the ArkLaTex that could produce flash-flooding, large hail, and spawn isolated tornadoes.

"But the fact of the matter is we're still playing", UNC Coach Roy Williams said.

Siera Thompson added 13 points with eight assists for MI, which outscored Georgia Tech 13-3 in the third overtime.

The Gamecocks had erased a 14-point deficit and took a 67-65 lead with 7:06 to play.

Jackson finished with 22 points.

Back to Meeks. His layup with 8:32 remaining gave North Carolina its first double digit lead at 66-56. One key for North Carolina will be the health of point guard Joel Berry II, who has been battling ankle issues but is expected to play.

But Oregon, despite its shooting woes, wouldn't go away.

Bell's miscues were hardly the only mistakes the Ducks made.

Berry rolled his right ankle when he landed awkwardly on a 3-point shot in the first-round win against Texas Southern, then struggled to a 2-for-13 shooting day in the comeback win against Arkansas two days later.

North Carolina felt good about its position at halftime, leading 39-36.

The Oregon Ducks (33-5) overpowered the powerful teams in the tournament so far.

"It would never have happened without them".

It's clear the Tar Heels need him.

"I always said if I ever was to play basketball or pursue basketball, the only way is if I had an offer from UNC to play basketball", Beckham said.


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