Kansas Rallies to Win NCAA Championship Game

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The Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina Tar Heels faced off in the NCAA Championship game. This year’s tournament had many historic moments and the final game would end with yet another.

Kansas Rallies to Win NCAA Championship Game

A Back-and-Forth First Half

Early in the first half, this game looked to be a repeat of the Kansas – Villanova Final Four matchup. The Jayhawks jumped on the Tar Heels early, scoring the first seven points of the game. North Carolina would rally behind the efforts of Armando Bacot, who tallied another double-double in this game, his sixth straight of the tournament. Bacot also kept his counterpart, David McCormack in check throughout the half. The Jayhawks’ senior forward scored five points early in the game but struggled offensively in the first period. In fact, during the final 10 minutes of the first half, the entire Jayhawks team couldn’t buy a bucket, making only four of 14 layup attempts amidst a massive run that saw the Tar Heels take a 15-point lead into the locker room. North Carolina’s effort on the offensive end led to 12 second-chance points in the half. Heading into the break, this game now looked to be UNC’s to lose, as they held a 40-25 lead.

Kansas Comes on Strong in the Second Half

The second half started off with a bang. McCormack got things going with a big dunk for the Jayhawks. North Carolina’s Caleb Love kept the Jayhawks at bay with some early offense, but Kansas countered with a 12-1 run to close the gap. With just over 12 minutes remaining, it was a 46-45 game. Tar Heels coach Hubert Davis was forced to go to his seldom-used bench with Leaky Black in foul trouble. This proved to be huge for North Carolina as reserve guard Puff Johnson would score seven straight points down the stretch. The sophomore had 11 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes for the Tar Heels. Kansas kept their rotation small as well in this one, with Remy Martin being their key contributor off the bench. Martin hit a clutch three in the game’s final minutes to give the Jayhawks a 68-65 lead.

The final two minutes of this hard-fought game were tense. North Carolina would retake the lead after buckets by Love and Brady Manek. Two McCormack buckets in the paint and a North Carolina turnover gave the Jayhawks a three-point lead with 22 seconds remaining in the game. The Tar Heels had three chances to tie the game in the final moments. Love and Johnson each missed tightly contested three-point attempts before Manek turned it over with only four seconds remaining. UNC would get another chance when Jayhawks’ guard Dajuan Harris Jr. caught the following inbound pass while stepping out of bounds. North Carolina was able to get their best shooter another shot at tying the game. Love got a decent look but missed the pull-up three over Christian Braun, giving Kansas the 72-69 win.

One For the Record Books

The 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was one of the best in recent history. With exciting matchups and incredible storylines, March Madness more than lived up to its name this year. From the miracle run of 15-seed St. Peter’s to the historic wins (and loss) for Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski, this tournament had something for everyone it seems. How fitting it is that it would end on one last historic note.

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