After a wild circus three-point shot by University of North Carolina guard Marcus Paige tied the game up at 74, many viewers thought that this already classic national championship game was headed for overtime.
Villanova forward Kris Jenkins had other plans.
Jenkins ran down the court, received a pass from senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono and buried a three-point shot at the buzzer to give the Villanova Wildcats their first national championship win since their 1985 upset against Georgetown and their second in school history.
During “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday, Jenkins spoke with extreme confidence saying, “I think every shot I take is going in, so that one felt no different”.
“I was able to get in on Ryan’s vision and he gave me the perfect pass,” Jenkins said to CBS.
As the confetti flew down on the court, one team celebrated while the other looked on in disbelief as all of the hard work they put in throughout the season was all for not. Their season and the NCAA tournament were over after an improbable ending to a classic national championship game.
The two games leading up to this game were anything but thrilling contests. Villanova annihilated Buddy Hield and the Oklahoma Sooners, 95-51 and UNC cruised past the Syracuse Orange, 83-66 in the two Final Four games on Saturday, April 2. Monday night’s national championship game was anything but boring as UNC and Villanova fought back and forth all game long, exchanging the lead multiple times throughout the game.
The statistics show that this game was just about even. Villanova paced the game with a 58.3 percent field goal percentage to UNC’s 42.9 percent, but UNC dominated in the rebound category, grabbing 36 total rebounds to Villanova’s 23, including 16 offensive rebounds. The largest lead of the game was 10 points for the Wildcats, which did not last long as UNC quickly stormed back in the second half.
Villanova University is only about an hour and a half away from Millersville University, so many students were rooting for the Wildcats to win the national championship over the Tar Heels from North Carolina.
Millersville Student Dean Santangelo went to high school with and personally knew guard Ryan Arcidiacono, who has been touted as one of the hardest working players on the team and earned the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award. He was ecstatic to see Villanova claim the title especially after all of the hard work Arcidiacono has put in.
“He was always a hard worker and he always put everything into the games he played in high school,” Santangelo said. “Seeing him succeed is no surprise and it is great to see how hard work can pay off.”
Dishing off the game winning assist to Kris Jenkins is a nothing short of a perfect ending to a spectacular collegiate career for Arcidiacono, and he did it at the perfect time for the Villanova Wildcats.