NCAA Elite 8 Recap: North Carolina & South Carolina Advance to Final Four
North Carolina and South Carolina won regional finals and advanced to the 2017 Final Four on Sunday. Here’s a recap of the day’s action:
South Region Final: North Carolina 75, Kentucky 73
Luke Maye hit a 19-foot jump shot with less than a second left to play, and North Carolina beat Kentucky, 75-73, in the South Region final in Memphis on Sunday night. As a result of the win, the top-seeded Tar Heels (31-7) advanced to the Final Four for the second consecutive year and 20th time in program history.
Down five points with under five minutes to play, North Carolina went on a 12-0 run that all but ended the game until the second-seeded Wildcats (32-6) stormed back.
Kentucky sharpshooters De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk each hit three-point shots on consecutive possessions that tied the game, but the Tar Heels took the lead for good when Theo Pinson sped the ball down the court and found Maye for the game-winning jumper.
Maye finished with 17 points. Justin Jackson led the Heels with 19. Teammate Kennedy Meeks added seven points and 17 rebounds.
Fox and Bam Adebayo had 13 points each to lead the Wildcats.
North Carolina will play Midwest champ Oregon in the Final Four in Arizona on Saturday.
East Region Final: South Carolina 77, Florida 70
Regional MVP Sindarius Thornwell scored 26 points, and South Carolina rallied past Florida, 77-70, in the East Region final in New York on Sunday afternoon and clinched the school’s first trip to the Final Four.
Trailing 40-33 at halftime, the seventh-seeded Gamecocks (26-10) stormed back in the second half by using the defensive intensity that has allowed them to win in the tournament.
The game was tight until the closing minutes, when South Carolina pulled away from the fourth-seeded Gators (27-9). Florida had only four field goals in the final four minutes and shot 26.9 percent from three-point range for the game.
Justin Leon led the Gators with 18 points. PJ Dozier added 17 points for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina will face West Region champ Gonzaga in the Final Four in Arizona on Saturday.