The University of Kansas staged the biggest comeback in the history of the US college basketball national championship by defeating North Carolina in the NCAA final on Monday with a score of 72-69.
North Carolina couldn’t emulate their 1982 performance, when a 2-point shot from a young Michael Jordan gave Tar Hells the NCAA championship 63-62 against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas in the final seconds of the game.
The top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks trailed 40-25 at halftime against the eighth-seeded North Carolina at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.
But a terrific second-half performance saw Kansas rock North Carolina to claim a dramatic victory and the Final Four title.
David McCormack and Jalen Wilson dragged the Jayhawks over the line with 15 points apiece as North Carolina was outscored 47-29 in a thrilling second half.
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Kansas had lost by 16 points at one stage and appeared headed for defeat against a North Carolina team that had been chasing a seventh title after victories in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, and 2017.
Believe until the end
Kansas star McCormack revealed the Jayhawks had never given up hope despite a crushing halftime deficit.
“I was in the locker room at halftime smiling at my teammates, they thought I was crazy. I just said ‘Hey, we come here in the second half and have fun, do what we did to do what got us to this moment.’ McCormack said.
McCormack pushed Kansas to a 70-69 lead after grabbing a rebound with 1:16 remaining, then added another 2-pointer to put the Jayhawks ahead 72-69 with 22.3 seconds left.
There was still time for North Carolina’s Caleb Love to attempt a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, but the ball deflected harmlessly away from the target as Kansas erupted in celebrations.
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) April 5, 2022
The Jayhawks’ comeback eclipsed the previous high from 1998 when Kentucky overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat Utah.
By: AFP/César Heredia
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