Robert Stephens, Featured Writer
Jenkins' touch helps garner rings.
May 30, 2016 - With the mere flick of his
wrist Villanova’s Kris Jenkins etched his name in NCAA college basketball
history with a buzzer beater three pointer as Villanova topped North Carolina
77-74 before 74,340 fans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Jenkins ( Gonzaga College High) said at his post game press conference
“ I think every shot is going in,and this one was no different.”
Not since North Carolina State’s last second bucket against Houston
had a championship contest go down to the wire. It was the first three
point shot to decide a NCAA Championship.
Kris Jenkins proved himself a superior
collegiate shooter all season long.
North Carolina led 39-34 at the half behind Joel Berry’s
15 points. Justin Jackson chipped in with 9 points as the Tar Heels shot
53.6% from the floor. Carolina controlled the boards 15 to 9.
Villanova checked in with 4 players in double figures with 7 points(Booth,Hart,Arcidiacono,and
added 6 to the mix.
Little did basketball enthusiast know what was about to happen in the
second half. Mikal Bridges became a focal points of sorts as Nova started
their march to the championship.
Mikal tied the score at 44 on a dunk with 14:05 remaining. Phil Booth
gave the Wildcats a 46-44 lead on a jumper which was countered by Marcus
Paiges short jumper with 13:14 remaining to tie the score at 46. Phil
Booth at the 12:45 mark nailed a three pointer as Nova took a 49-46 lead
they never relinquished.
Villanova’s offense and pressure defense held the Tar Heels at a
distance against a Carolina team that been hailed as the deepest team
in the country. At 5:29 remaining Phil Booth hit a jumper to give Nova
their biggest lead at 67-57.
Carolina scored the next 7 points to cut the lead to 67-64 behind Joel
Berry’s 5 points with 3:42 remaining. The Tar Heels continued to
put the pressure on Nova as Brice Johnson’s jumper with 1:06 remaining
cut Nova’s lead to
70-69 with 1:06 remaining.
Phil Booth (two free throws) and Josh Hart (two free throws) gave Nova
a 74-71 lead with 13 seconds remaining in the contest.
Marcus Paige and the Carolina Tar Heels weren’t finished yet. Paige
double-clutched a three point shot for the ages with 5 seconds remaining
to tie the score at 74 !
And then it happened ! With no time remaining Kris Jenkins took a pass
from Ryan Arcidiacono let it fly from NBA (nothing but net) shattering
the dreams of the Carolina faithful while sending the Villanova fans into
“Kris told him (Arcidiacono) he was going to be open, Arch made
the perfect pass”, Nova coach Jay Wright said at his press conference.
“I told them I loved them 'I wish I could have helped them more'
It was helpless. It was not a good feeling” said North Carolina
head coach Roy Williams.
As an afterthought it was 1983 when North Carolina State captured their
national title on a buzzer beater against Houston. That team featured
Sidney Lowe (Dematha), Derrick Wittenburg (Dematha) and Thurl Bailey (Bladensburg).
This year’s champions featured Josh Hart (Sidwell Friends), Kris
Jenkins (Gonzaga College), Phil Booth (Mt. St. Joe’s) and Daniel
Ochefu (Dowington East). Booth and Ochefu are from Baltimore.
Phil Booth led Villanova in scoring with 20 points and 2 assists in the
championship game. Ryan Arcidiacono voted the MVP of the Final Four chipped
in with 16 points. Kris Jenkins (14 points) and Josh Hart (12 points-8
rebounds) as 4 players finished in double figures. Daniel Ochefu contributed
( 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks).
Villanova finished their season at 33-5. North Carolina ended their year
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