North Carolina sophomore forward Luke Maye drilled a long two-point jumper with three-tenths of a second remaining to give the Tar Heels a 75-73 victory over Kentucky. UNC advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament with the win.
Maye's jumper capped a wild sequence in which UK freshman guard Malik Monk hit an off-balance three-pointer with two Tar Heels in his face to tie the game at 73 with 7.2 seconds left.
UNC immediately inbounded the ball, and junior forward Theo Pinson drove the length of the court before dishing the ball off to Maye, who calmly drilled the jumper to give UNC the win:
Allstate's Mayhem did his best impression of Maye's likely inner monologue in crunch time:
Kentucky fired a desperation full-court pass to try to tie the game, but it went out of bounds.
The game seesawed back and forth in the final minutes.
Kentucky, which did not take a lead until 2:25 into the second half, led 64-59 with 5:12 remaining after sophomore forward Isaac Humphries hit a jumper. Humphries had caught fire by then, as it rounded out a spurt of eight points in under three minutes for him.
However, UNC went on a 12-0 run (including six points from Pinson) to take a 71-64 lead with 54 seconds left.
Freshman guard De'Aaron Fox then hit a three-pointer to bring UK within four:
After a UNC turnover, Monk hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to one point:
Maye then immediately found forward Justin Jackson with a full-length pass down the court, and the junior put in a layup to give UNC a 73-70 lead with 34 seconds left.
After a Kentucky turnover, Jackson missed the front end of a one-and-one, leading to the game's final frenetic moments.
UNC's dominance down low was the difference. The Tar Heels out-rebounded the Wildcats 44-34 and also blocked nine UK shots.
The reserves shined on the big stage for both teams. For Kentucky, Humphries scored 12 points, and senior guard Dominique Hawkins continued his hot NCAA tournament shooting by drilling a pair of three-pointers and scoring 10 first-half points.
UK sorely needed Hawkins' production, as Fox picked up two quick fouls in 40 seconds and was forced to the bench with 12:23 remaining in the first half.
For North Carolina, Maye scored 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Jackson led UNC with 19 points, and senior Kennedy Meeks grabbed 17 boards and blocked four shots. Freshman forward Bam Adebayo and Fox scored 13, while Monk added 12.
North Carolina will now play Oregon in the Final Four on Saturday, April 1.
Fox, one of the toughest players in college basketball, was understandably emotional after the tough loss:
Jackson talked about brotherhood, per NCAA March Madness on Twitter:
UNC head coach Roy Williams issued a mea culpa after saying that he wanted Maye to play as a walk-on. It's certainly forgiven now:
Needless to say, Williams and his players were pretty excited:
UK head coach John Calipari was not happy with the officiating, per Dan Bodner of Kentucky Sports Connection. It is understandable given that four of five UK starters had two fouls before halftime: