Villanova forward Kris Jenkins (2) celebrates after the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game against North Carolina Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. Villanova won 77-74. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
This back and forth game came down to clutch shots in the final five seconds. It was a fitting end to a springtime single-elimination competition known affectionately as ‘March Madness’ for its regular upsets and last-second victories. (Watch full video highlights below…)
With just about five seconds remaining, Marcus Paige rattled in an off-balance heave from outside the arc for the Tar Heels to tie the NCAA Final at 74-74. Leading for the final five minutes of the game, Villanova took a time out to draw up a play.
Following the inbound, a drive up the court and a pass received by Kris Jenkins, he then proceeded to shot and bury a buzzer-beating three-pointer with no time left on the clock to lift Villanova to a thrilling 77-74 upset victory over North Carolina in the U.S. college basketball championship game in Houston on Monday.
The victory gave the Philadelphia-area university a second national title, adding to a 1985 upset victory over Georgetown.
Back-up guard Phil Booth led the winners with 20 points, hitting six-of-seven shots with back-court mate Ryan Arcidiacono adding 16. Paige led North Carolina with 21 points with his fellow guard Joel Berry scoring 20.
Using superior size to shut down access to the hoop, North Carolina (33-7) staged a fierce comeback, capped by Paige’s desperation three-pointer that seemed likely to send the game to overtime.
However, senior guard Arcidiacono raced down the court and shoveled a pass to an open Jenkins, who pulled the trigger on a classic game-winner that sent ecstatic Villanova (35-5) players into a heap on the floor as confetti rained down.
After Paige’s electric, game-tying three-pointer, Villanova coach Jay Wright called time to set up their final play.
“We put it in Arch’s hands,” Wright said. “It’s Arch’s job to make a decision. Arch made the perfect pass and Kris Jenkins lives for that moment.”
Jenkins, nicknamed the Big Smooth, said: “I think every shot is going in. So that one was no different.”
Arcidiacono, named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, said: “It’s an unbelievable way to go out. That’s just something that everyone dreams about.”
Teary-eyed North Carolina coach Roy Williams said: “I’ve been a head coach for 28 years and the worst thing is, with a loss like this I feel so inadequate because I don’t know how to make it better.”
Watch the full highlights of this thrilling game below: