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03 April 2017, 03:25 | Simon Arnold
After spending an entire game playing catchup, OR came up just short on Saturday and saw its season end with a 77-76 loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels at University of Phoenix Stadium.
It was all part of a career night for the North Carolina senior, who was on the bench previous year when Villanova devastatingly ended the Tar Heels' chance at a title with a three-pointer at the buzzer.
In this one, Meeks finished 11 for 13 for 25 points and 14 rebounds, none more important than the last one.
Meeks, the only Tar Heel who could shoot straight Saturday night, grabbed the game-saving offensive rebound in a 77-76 victory over OR after the ice-cold Tar Heels missed their fourth straight free throw down the stretch.
First Kennedy Meeks, who played perhaps his finest college game, missed a pair of free throws with 5.8 seconds left, the Tar Heels leading by a point.
North Carolina's academic scandal was brought up on the CBS broadcast during the second half of the Tar Heels' national semifinal against Oregon.
UNC defeated OR in their Final Four matchup Saturday night to advance to Monday night's national championship game against Gonzaga.
Forward Justin Jackson made four 3-pointers and supplied the Tar Heels with 22 points.
Dylan Ennis and Tyler Dorsey scored 21 and 18 points for the Ducks. Killian Tillie rebounded for Gonzaga, was fouled and made two free throws to cement the game. Ennis opened the second half with a basket before Kennedy Meeks got a couple putbacks and Justin Jackson hit a three-pointer to put the Heels up 46-38. Bell had 13 points, 16 rebounds and 4 blocks in the loss. "He felt really bad about not getting those blockouts but we're not here tonight without him".
OR struggled to hold onto the ball in the first half. Meeks' final rebound was the most pivotal, coming after a missed free throw in the closing seconds. Joel Berry II also eclipsed the double-digit mark, scoring 11 on the night.
"Man, just an awesome, awesome basketball game, with just how hard both teams competed", Gonzaga's Few said. Theo Pinson did a little bit of everything, with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists.
"Jordan felt bad. But I told him, 'Buddy, you got 16 rebounds, we wouldn't have been in this position if it hadn't been for you, '" said Altman.
The Tar Heels increased a three-point halftime lead early in the second half when Meeks stuck back a couple of misses. Pinson made a free throw for UNC before Bell answered with three free throws for the Ducks to get within 72-67 with 3:30 to play. Fellow star Dillon Brooks had only 10 points and six rebounds on 2 of 11 shooting before fouling out with 1:32 to play.
The victor of the Oregon-UNC game will face Gonzaga for the title on Monday night. Ducks' season over after falling a game short of returning to the title game for the first time since 1939, the first NCAA Tournament.
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