Meeks' huge game carries Tar Heels back to NCAA title game

April 1, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Kennedy Meeks (3) grabs the rebound at the end of the game for the win over the Oregon Ducks in the semifinals of the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium.

North Carolina senior Kennedy Meeks delivered 25 points and 14 rebounds, including the final one that preserved their lead, as the Tar Heels held off an OR fightback from seven points down with just over three minutes remaining.

The Tar Heels achieved their season-long goal of making it back to the national championship game after a dramatic finish on Saturday night, an ending in which they missed four free throws in the final 5.8 seconds.

The Ducks trailed by 10 late in the second half, but OR came back by limiting the Tar Heels to only 6 points in the last 5:53 of the game.

The Ducks got the ball back after a North Carolina miss, but instead of attempting a game-tying three, OR went inside for a Keith Smith layup with 6 seconds remaining.

There is no getting around the fact that this is a landmark achievement for the Tar Heels to get back to the national championship game.

Kris Jenkins, whose shot destroyed the Tar Heels nearly exactly one year ago to date, sat in the first row of the North Carolina cheering section, alongside the parents he considers family, rooting for Nate Britt, who he considers a brother.

Dorsey made two free throws but Joel Berry II hit a three-pointer for North Carolina before Dorsey added two more free throws.

Guard Tyler Dorsey led OR with 21 points.

Kennedy Meeks and Justin Jackson had to laugh at the question. Collins also had six blocks. "And so we've got to get, whoever has the scout, we've got to get used to the scout a little bit". "And make sure you don't get fouled because apparently we can make free throws".

North Carolina carried the momentum into the second half, as it answered a quick OR bucket to open the period with seven straight points.

"If it weren't for Kennedy Meeks, we wouldn't have been in the basketball game", Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said.

Two bum ankles didn't stop point guard Joel Berry from playing significant minutes in Saturday's game, though his 2-for-14 shooting performance suggests he's not playing fully healthy.

"When things got tough we banded together and pulled through", said Williams-Goss, who had six assists and a brief injury scare after turning an ankle underneath the basket. UNC missed four consecutive free throws in the closing seconds but won the game with two ginormous offensive rebounds, the second of which ran out the time on the clock to secure the victory.

The victor of the Oregon-UNC game will face Gonzaga for the title on Monday night. Dillon Brooks fouled out with 10 points on 2 of 11 shooting.

The Tar Heels increased a three-point halftime lead early in the second half when Meeks stuck back a couple of misses. At the end of the day, this is the second Final Four that I've been to in my three years, and it's the second that he's been to.