Top seeds Gonzaga, North Carolina reach national title game

Updated April 1, 2017 - 9:14 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. — It will be No. 1 vs. No. 1 to see who is No. 1 in college basketball.

North Carolina, the top seed in the South Regional, used its size and experience to hold off Oregon 77-76 on Saturday before 77,612 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Tar Heels (32-7) will face Gonzaga on Monday for the national championship. The Bulldogs (37-1), the top seed in the West, rode the hot hands of Las Vegas prep stars Nigel Williams-Goss and Zach Collins to defeat South Carolina 77-73.

The Tar Heels relied on the broad shoulders of 6-foot-10-inch senior forward Kennedy Meeks, who had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and junior Justin Jackson, who scored 22.

The Ducks (33-6), who trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, got within one point in the final six seconds. But Oregon fouled twice in those final seconds, and both times North Carolina missed two foul shots only to grab the offensive rebound each time and deny the Ducks a final shot.

Former Findlay Prep standout Williams-Goss scored 23 points, and former Bishop Gorman star Collins had 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots off the bench for Gonzaga.

South Carolina (26-11) trailed by 14 points early in the second half, but used a 16-0 run to take the lead before Gonzaga regained it and held on.

With the Zags clinging to a 75-72 lead, Sindarius Thornwell was fouled with 3.5 seconds to play. He made the first and deliberately missed the second, hoping for a long rebound. But Gonzaga controlled the boards to advance to its first national title game.

Contact Steve Carp at or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

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