The Kansas Jayhawks have won their second national title under Coach Bill Self after completing a 16-point comeback to beat UNC, 72-69. The 2022 title is the Jayhawks’ fourth in program history.
Round of applause for the National Champions.— SLAM (@SLAMonline) April 5, 2022
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The fact that the Jayhawks were able to be in that position after being down 40-25 at the half is astounding. The Jayhawks overcame the largest halftime deficit in Final Four history and the biggest comeback bid in title game history by applying more pressure to Tar Heel point guard R.J. Davis, clogging up the passing lanes, and forcing UNC into rushed shots. All staples of a championship-level defense.
The switch-up in their defensive effort helped Kansas score eight fast break points and turn their 16-point deficit into a six-point lead with 10 points left.
“With the group of guys as experienced as this and been around and know each other so well, it’s kind of hard to see us get rattled,” said sixth-year Kansas forward Mitch Lightfoot, per ESPN. “Coach had a great message for us, and he challenged us to be better and to have more pride.”
McCormack sealed it ‼️ @slam_university (via @CBSSports) pic.twitter.com/nkP9AGkDIn— SLAM (@SLAMonline) April 5, 2022
When things got tight late in the game, the Jayhawks leaned on their blooming big man in the middle, David McCormack (15 points and 10 rebounds), who provided back-to-back clutch buckets, including the game-winner, a hook shot over Brady Manek (13 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks) with 22 seconds left on the clock.
“All year in the most clutch times, times when the game is on the line, he put the ball in my hands,” McCormack said per The Athletic. “It shows that he loves me. He feels that I deserved that and that I worked hard to get in this position.”
On the subsequent possession, UNC guard Caleb Love (13 points) attempted a deep three-pointer that fell short, but Davis corralled the offensive rebound; Puff Johnson tried to hit the game-tying three but was off. When Manek secured their second offensive rebound, he turned it over after attempting to pass it to the corner. However, hope was not lost after Dejuan Harris turned the ball over, trying to tight rope the sideline.
Love had another chance to tie the game with just one second left, but that attempt also fell short, sealing their fate and cementing Kansas in the record books as NCAA champions.
Okay… who else is counting down the days until next season already?? pic.twitter.com/R1tjSTd9R1— SLAM University (@slam_university) April 5, 2022
Armando Bacot paced the Tar Heels with 15 points and 15 rebounds.