Joseph Kilgore of the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders is the 2018 college slam dunk champion after defeating Texas Tech Red Raiders forward Zach Smith in the final.
Kilgore earned a perfect score of 40 from the judges and claimed the Twitter vote to finish with a 50.0 overall score. The Southland Conference celebrated Kilgore's victory:
Each player only had one dunk in the final round.
Kilgore opted for a reverse between-the-legs 360 that he completed on the first try. The dunk contest's official Twitter account shared a replay of the winning dunk:
The fact Kilgore hit the dunk immediately may have been the difference in the final, as Smith required multiple attempts in order to hit a between-the legs alley-oop he collected on a pass off the side of the backboard.
Hall of Famer George Gervin was one of the judges and didn't hesitate to tell ESPN's Jay Williams that Smith's inability to get the dunk on his first attempt hurt his score.
The judges may also have docked points from Smith since his finals dunk was similar to one of his jams from the semifinals. He received a pass off the backboard before cocking the ball back and slamming it with his right hand.
Kilgore, on the other hand, provided something different with every one of his dunks. In the first round, he replicated one of the most famous dunk contest performances in basketball history when he hit a reverse 360 windmill, emulating Vince Carter in 2000, courtesy of ESPN:
The dunk that got him to the final was impressive as well, as he slammed home a two-handed reverse windmill.
From start to finish, Kilgore was the best dunker on the night and a deserving champion.
While he exited the competition in the semifinals, Purchase College's Max Pearce delivered the second-best dunk of the night. He bounced the ball off the floor and threw down a right-handed jam while his head was rim-level. And Pearce did it while holding a cell phone in his left hand:
Unfortunately, the Panthers guard's phone froze while he attempted the dunk, so he was unable to upload the video to social media.
It didn't count for anything, but Sprinkles, a mascot for contest sponsor Dunkin' Donuts, deserved credit for somehow finishing a right-handed jam despite wearing an oversized donut costume:
Keep Sprinkles on your dunk radar for 2019.
Earlier in the night, William & Mary's Connor Burchfield won the battle of the champions with Michigan's Katelynn Flaherty. Burchfield was the men's three-point champion after beating Murray State's Jonathan Stark in the final. Flaherty prevailed in the women's competition, toppling Duke's Rebecca Greenwell in the final.
Burchfield's victory snapped a three-year run of the women's three-point champion claiming overall superiority.