- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2016

HOUSTON — One good shot deserved another.

Villanova’s Kris Jenkins wasn’t about to be outdone.

Jenkins overcame the shock of watching North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit a double-clutch 3-pointer to tie the score by spotting up behind the right side of the arc and draining a 3-pointer of his own at the buzzer to lift Villanova to a 77-74 victory and the national championship Monday night.

What a shot — and what a game.

The Wildcats had a six-point lead with 1:52 left, but watched it slowly trickle away. Then, it was gone, when Paige jumped — and when Ryan Arcidacono started running at him — and pumped one from beyond the arc to tie the score at 74-74 with 4.7 seconds left.

After a timeout, Arcidacono worked the ball upcourt and got it to Jenkins, who made it from about two steps behind the 3-point line.

Kris told him he was going to be open. Arch made the perfect pass,” Villanova coach Jay Wright explained. “Kris lives for that moment.”

A few moments later, Jenkins, who finished with 14 points, was leaping over press row, hugging members of his family and shouting: “They said we couldn’t, they said we couldn’t, they said we couldn’t.”

It was Villanova’s first title since 1985, when Rollie Massimino coaxed a miracle out of his eighth-seeded underdogs for a victory over star-studded Georgetown.

It’s hard to top this one, though.

Jenkins, a Gonzaga College High School graduate from Upper Marlboro, Maryland who was adopted by the family of North Carolina guard Nate Britt, now has a spot with Keith Smart, Lorenzo Charles and anyone else who ever made a late game-winner to win the NCAA tournament.

Paige finished with 21 points for the top-seeded Tar Heels, who fell one agonizing shot short of giving coach Roy Williams his third national title.

Phil Booth scored a team-high 20 points and Arcidiacono, the most outstanding player of the NCAA tournament, had 16 points for Villanova, which trailed, 39-34, at halftime.

Joel Berry II scored 20 points and Brice Johnson had 14 points and eight rebounds for North Carolina, which last won the national championship in 2009.


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