GLENDALE, Ariz. (CNN) — A year after losing the national title game on a buzzer-beater, North Carolina is back in the championship contest of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
The Tar Heels (32-7) downed the Oregon Ducks 77-76 in the second national semifinal Saturday night behind Kennedy Meeks’ career-high 25 points.
“We’re relieved. We feel very lucky. But the fact of the matter is we’re still playing,” UNC Coach Roy Williams said.
UNC will play Gonzaga (37-1) for the national championship. Earlier the Bulldogs edged South Carolina 77-73. Gonzaga is playing in its first NCAA men’s basketball title game after edging South Carolina 77-73 on Saturday in the national semifinals.
“I’m really, really proud of our guys and our late-game execution,” Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said. “The guys executed it perfectly, especially down the last four minutes. … To be playing the last game of the year is just crazy cool.”
“We said all year that we’re a tight group, we said that we’re brothers, we said that we stick together, and it shows,” Williams-Goss told CBS. “When things got tough, we banded together.”
The Tar Heels have won five NCAA tournament titles, the most recent in 2009. Last year, the Tar Heels lost to Villanova in the title game when Kris Jenkins’ three-pointer gave the Wildcats a 77-74 victory.
The national championship game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and will air live on News 3 at 9:20 p.m ET.