The Good Shot

By Patrick Codo

Last night was the 2015 NCAA National Championship between the Villanova Wildcats, and the North Carolina Tar Heels. There were a lot of other games to remember during the 2016 march madness tournament but this game was probably the best one to remember. North Carolina’s senior guard Marcus Paige hit a game tying shot with 4 seconds left in regulation and thought they were going into overtime right? Wrong, despite Villanova’s junior forward Kris Jenkins having 14 points, three of those mattered as he hit the game winning shot as time expired to clinch Villanova its first national championship since 1985 when they beat top seeded Georgetown 66-64, and that is when the Hoyas had Patrick Ewing. This one they beat North Carolina who was head coached by the long time man Roy Williams.

This win for the Wildcats was their second in school history and the first for head coach Jay Wright. The leading scorer came off of the bench for Villanova as Sophomore Guard Phil Booth lead the Wildcats with 20 points. The Wildcats were hoping that senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono would try to win the game but he had to something to say about putting the ball into the hands of Kris Jenkins. Arcidiacono stated “If I could get a shot, I was going to shoot it,” said Arcidiacono, who finished with 16 points and two assists, one more memorable than the other. “But I heard someone screaming in the back of my head. It was Kris. I just gave it to him and he let it go with confidence.” That was the right thing for him to do and Kris Jenkins won the game.

The Tar Heels have seen this atmosphere before and were not going to go down without a fight. Marcus Paige the senior guard for North Carolina lead the Tar Heels with 21 points, and 5 rebounds. Roy Williams was looking for his third national title but he came up short of it. Tears did flow from the 65-year-old man who possibly could have worked his last game on the sideline due to the fact that the entire sports program at Chapel Hill is under NCAA scrutiny and awaiting possible penalties for a long running academic-fraud case.  Williams after the game said, “I’m not very good because I can’t take away the hurt,” Williams said. “I told them I loved them. I told them I wish I could have helped them more.” Although when he saw the shot go he said, “It was helpless. It was not a good feeling.” What Williams said is true but he should still be a proud man getting his team to the national championship for the first time in seven years when they beat Michigan State 89-72.

At the start of the second half the Tar Heels had a 41-34 lead and then Villanova went on a 33-18 run to open things up and take 67-57 lead with 5 minutes left. With under two minutes left in the game Villanova had 70-64 lead and then North Carolina went on a 10-4 run to tie it up at 74 but that just left Kris Jenkins alive to nail the game winner and clinch Villanova its second national title in 31 years. Both teams had a really good season. Villanova finished with a record of 35-5 and North Carolina finished its season with a record of 33-7.