MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Roy Williams still has not watched the tape of the 2016 national championship game and likely never will. The North Carolina coach sure has done his best to make sure his Tar Heels know how to hit game-winning shots.
Now all that practice with a 15-second shot clock has paid off with a trip back to the Final Four.
Luke Maye knocked down a jumper with 0.3 seconds left Sunday, answering Malik Monk’s tying 3 and lifting North Carolina over Kentucky 75-73 in the South Regional final.
Williams had a timeout but chose to let his top-seeded Tar Heels run the ball back up-court.
“We practice that way every day,” a soaked Williams said. “Believe it or not, we have practices where we play with a 15-second shot clock because I want them to push the ball hard enough to get a great shot in 15 seconds, not just throw it up. We’ve won a few games like that.”
A year ago, Marcus Paige hit a 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left to tie the national championship game at 74. Then Kris Jenkins won the title for Villanova knocking down a 3 as time expired. It’s a loss Williams still calls a heartbreaker.
Williams said Maye’s game-winner isn’t redemption for the Villanova loss but noted he yelled at Paige after this win. Paige was Facetiming with Eric Hoots, North Carolina’s director of player development.
“And he was so happy for us,” Williams said. “But I’m really happy for this team and the work that they’ve put in, the toughness that they’ve shown, and they’re just, they’re wonderful kids.”
Now the Tar Heels (31-7) are headed for a record 20th Final Four and a game Saturday against Midwest…