GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – North Carolina is one game away from its sixth college basketball national championship after surviving a late rally in the final seconds against Oregon.
Kennedy Meeks matched his career high with 25 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as North Carolina won 77-76.
Meeks’ final rebound was the most pivotal, coming after a missed free throw in the closing seconds.
North Carolina missed four straight free throws at the end of the game but got offensive rebounds in both cases to emerge victorious.
Dylan Ennis and Tyler Dorsey scored 21 and 18 points for the Ducks. Dillon Brooks had a rough night for Oregon, making 2 of 11 shots and committing five turnovers before fouling out.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs survived a furious second-half rally by South Carolina to advance to their first national championship game.
South Carolina reeled off 16 straight points to take a 67-65 lead with 7:06 to play. Zach Collins answered with a 3-pointer to put Gonzaga back on top and the Bulldogs held on from there.
Collins, a 7-foot freshman, had an impressive stat line: 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks in 23 minutes of play.
Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 for the Bulldogs. P.J. Dozier had 17 points for the Gamecocks.
The Final Four brought the largest crowd to attend a sporting event at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Organizers say attendance was 77,612. That is dramatically more fans than the building typically holds for Arizona Cardinals football games. Average attendance for Cardinals games is about 64,000. The Cardinals have sold out every game since the building opened in 2006.
The stadium can hold thousands more seats for basketball in what marks the first time the Final Four has been in Arizona.