UNC gives gutsy effort, falls in Title Game to Kansas, 72-69

North Carolina’s mid-season turnaround came up just short in the NCAA Tournament Championship Game. In a matchup of two head coaches that succeeded Roy Williams, Bill Self’s Kansas team got the best of UNC, winning 72-69 in New Orleans.

After a strong start, UNC took a 15-point lead to halftime, 40-25. Kansas, however, roared out of the gate to start the second. The comeback victory for the Jayhawks marks the biggest comeback win in national title game history.

In terms of scoring, Kansas had five players in double-figures, including Remy Martin with 14 points (4-of-6 3PA) off the bench. Veteran center David McCormack posted a double-double: 15 points, 10 rebounds. All-American wing Ocahi Agbaji pumped in 12 points, while providing solid defense on UNC guard Caleb Love.

Love struggled with his shot all night. During the second half, though, he twisted his ankle, which may have cost him some necessary burst with the basketball. Regardless, after the best finishing game of his career vs. Duke in the Final Four, Love was just 5-of-24 from the field (1-of-8 3PA).

With a 6-man rotation, UNC battled in this game; despite shooting 31.5 percent from the floor, the Tar Heels had a chance to tie this game. Love’s final 3-point attempt of the game fell short, though.

RJ Davis was sensational at times in this game: 40 minutes, 15 points, 12 rebounds and two assists.

Once again, Armando Bacot suffered an ankle injury. The junior center still finished with 15 points (3-of-15 FGA) and 15 rebounds as he battled McCormack in the paint.

UNC played a tight rotation, which was to be expected. All five starters played 30+ minutes for North Carolina, with Davis going to full 40.

Sophomore forward Puff Johnson was the only true contributor off the bench; he played well, too. The southpaw scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

The victory marks the second NCAA title for Self. He led the Jayhawks to a national title back in 2008, too.