The Bulldogs came so close. So. Damn. Close.
They went 37-1 in the regular season. Won the West Coast Conference. Won the WCC Tournament. Went to the Final Four for the first time ever. Beat a handful of ranked teams.
And the Bulldogs had the national championship within their grasp. They had it.
But a wild final minute, which included two costly turnovers and a dunk from Justin Jackson, gave the North Carolina Tar Heels a 71-65 win and the program’s sixth national championship.
After a fun first half that saw Gonzaga build a seven-point lead and take a three-point edge into the locker room, whistles began to dominate the second half.
North Carolina took the lead early with a quick 8-0 run, but the game stayed close down the stretch as the refs would not let either team find a flow. Zach Collins committed his fourth foul just a few minutes into the half, while Jonathan Williams and Kennedy Meeks both followed.
Both teams were in the bonus with more than 10 minutes to play.
The second half slog continued until the final five minutes when, finally, both teams started hitting shots and the game found a flow. Gonzaga took the lead for the first time since the 12:45 mark on a three from Nigel Williams-Goss with 4:39 to play. Naturally, Joel Berry answered 19 seconds later.
It was back and forth from there, setting up another thrilling title game finish.
Despite the ending, Gonzaga accomplished enough this year to silence the doubters. It was a run for the ages and one we won’t soon forget.