— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) April 4, 2017
Well, last game of the season, so that means last rant about refs.
The refs were good in the first half, not a lot of whistles or blown calls. The second half, however, was awful. Both teams were in the bonus eight minutes into the half, there were 15 fouls in eight minutes. I wasn’t the only one who picked up on it either, our very own Blake Moore was getting mad too.
@AlexFunderburke Refs trying to piss off all fans. FIFTEEN FOULS not even 8 min in.
— Blake Moore (@Balakaymoore) April 4, 2017
These fouls took away from what was a great game, players for both teams were in foul trouble and we didn’t get to see the stars as much as we should have. Now were some of those calls good calls? Yes, but do you need to call every single bump? Heck no.
The second half of the game was one of the most boring halves of basketball I’ve ever watched. It was so hard to watch, after every foul, it would cut to commercial. There was no flow to the game, it put me to sleep, until the last two minutes at least.
The first half was very interesting, it wasn’t a crazy offensive performance for either team, but that made it all the more intriguing.
The first five minutes were rough, UNC got a quick dunk but after that, no one was really scoring. Then two minutes later each team realized they knew how to put the ball in the basket.
The Tar Heels and the Zags traded baskets for a little, but the offensive mini-boom for UNC would soon wear off, UNC went cold and Gonzaga stayed hot. They went on a 7-0 run to jump out to a seven-point lead.
Then the two teams switched roles, Gonzaga went nearly four minutes without a single point and UNC made it a one-point game again.
Neither teams stars played well, Karnowski missed shots right in front of the rim time and time again, he went 0-4. Justin Jackson wasn’t any better(expect he scored at least) he shot 3-10, he really needed to stop shooting and look elsewhere to help his team out.
Josh Perkins for Gonzaga on the other hand, bounced all the way back from a scoreless Final Four against South Carolina, it felt like he was hitting everything he took, he had 13 points on 3/5 shooting and 4/5 from the free throw line.
UNC as a whole had trouble shooting, they shot 30% from the field and 15% from three, Gonzaga on the head shot 40% and 55.6% from three. Somehow this game was only and three-point game going into halftime.
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) April 4, 2017
Ok, the first 18 minutes of the second half can be described like this:
Brick Foul Foul Brick Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Brick Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Brick Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul Foul
Nothing else happened, I promise.
Now, the last two minutes is where it gets crazy.
It started with a huge Williams-Goss three to give the Zags the lead, it felt like that was it, Gonzaga was going to pull away and it’d be over with. The three felt like a dagger to me.
Safe to say I was wrong. The guy who couldn’t hit anything the entire game, Justin Jackson hits the biggest shot of the game to that point, a huge and one and he hit the free throw.
Nigel Williams-Goss came down the court and rolled his ankle really really bad, it looked broken. But, he called a timeout and wouldn’t leave the game. But, he would only hurt the team, he struggled most of the second half and he would miss a turnaround jumper out of the timeout.
Up one and having all the momentum on their side, UNC comes down the court, wastes time misses a shot, but Meeks fell to the ground to get the ball, his hand was clearly out of bounds, it’s not even close. What did the refs do? They called a jump-ball. I’ll let you judge it for yourself but it’s pretty obvious.
Here is a picture of Kennedy Meeks being out of bounds on the “jump ball” towards the end of the game pic.twitter.com/Tajqu0f8Qs
— Brave Old Army Blog (@BraveOlArmyBlog) April 4, 2017
Now to say the game came down to that one possession is wrong, but that was an extremely big call, a game-changing one.
UNC would score soon after on a Hicks shot. Gonzaga called a timeout and decided that Goss would drive in the lane. It was a bad idea. Meeks would get the block of the year, smacking it out of the air which started a fast break for an easy dunk.
Things couldn’t get any worse for the Zags, then they throw the ball away again and sent UNC to the line. Berry would hit one of the two to put UNC up by six with seven seconds left. The game was over.
This is National Championship number six for the Tar Heels and a heartbreaking ending to a great season for Gonzaga.