Meet the NCAA tournament champions, Villanova University. After a stress-filled game, ‘Nova won with a buzzer beater three pointer shot by junior forward Kris Jenkins, making the final score 77-74. The University of North Carolina was expected to win the championship, considering that they were the number one seed, but fell short in the last few seconds of the game.
The championship game came two days after Villanova crushed the University of Oklahoma in the Final Four by a record margin of 44 points. North Carolina then beat Syracuse later that night to set up the matchup between Villanova and UNC.
The last 13 seconds of the game had most fans on the edge of their seats. After Villanova junior guard Josh Hart made two free throws, giving them a lead of 74-71, UNC had 13 seconds to inbound the ball. North Carolina gave the ball to senior guard Marcus Paige, whose 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds remaining was all the more impressive considering he was off balance. Paige tied the game, 74-74, setting the stage for a potential overtime period. ‘Nova then called for a timeout. They set up a play, with senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono with the ball. Kris Jenkins said he would be open for a pass, and Arcidiacono trusted him.
With 4.7 seconds left, Jenkins inbounded the ball to Arcidiacono, he then sprinted up the court and got into position. Jenkins started repeatedly yelling Arcidiacono’s name. Arcidiacono noticed Jenkins’ yelling, and quickly passed him the ball. Jenkins released the ball out of his hands right before the buzzer went off, and watched the ball go swiftly into the hoop. His teammates started jumping on top of him and celebrating, clearly overcome with joy.
As well as the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, the Villanova campus was crowded with students who wanted to watch their school play in the championship game. After the Wildcats’ win, the students on campus went crazy. They were so happy that ‘Nova won, because they hadn’t since 1985. According to Lt. Chris Flanagan with the Radnor, Pennsylvania, police department, eight arrests were made the night of ‘Nova’s win. Classes were cancelled the next day, letting students and athletes celebrate the big win. That same day, the Wildcats returned to their school as national champions with a huge crowd to greet them.