Kansas Stages Second Half Comeback to Beat UNC, Win National Title

Kansas national championship North Carolina

The Kansas Jayhawks erased a 15-point halftime deficit, then held on in the final moments to beat the North Carolina Tar Heels 72-69 and claim their first national championship since 2008.

Kansas national championship North CarolinaThe Kansas Jayhawks won their fourth national championship in school history by beating North Carolina in the 2022 NCAA Tournament title game. (Image: Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)

Kansas came into the national championship as a four-point favorite and a -190 pick on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Kansas finds success early in second half

However, the Jayhawks needed to stage the largest comeback in the history of the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship to get the win. North Carolina overcame an early 7-0 deficit and dominated the rest of the first half, taking a 40-25 lead into the locker room.

But Kansas came out firing in the second half, outscoring the Tar Heels 31-10 over the first 10 minutes. Somehow, North Carolina slowed that momentum and stabilized the game, with neither team holding a lead of more than three points over the final 3:45 of the game.

LARGEST COMEBACK IN TITLE GAME HISTORY

THE KANSAS JAYHAWKS ARE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS pic.twitter.com/oObK7nZO88

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) April 5, 2022

A Brady Manek tip shot gave North Carolina a 69-68 lead with 1:41 remaining. But David McCormick scored twice on the next two Kansas possessions, including a basket with 22 seconds remaining to give the Jayhawks a three-point advantage.

Caleb Love and Puff Johnson both missed three-point opportunities to tie the game before Kansas took over the ball out of bounds with just 4.6 seconds remaining. North Carolina prepared to foul, but Dajuan Harris stepped out of bounds as he received the inbounds pass, giving the Tar Heels one last chance with 4.3 seconds left.

Caleb Love took a contested three-pointer that barely grazed the rim short, and time ran out before North Carolina could take another shot.

Agbaji wins Most Outstanding Player

Five Kansas players scored in double figures, with McCormick and Jalen Wilson leading the team with 15 points each. North Carolina had five in double figures, with R.J. Davis and Armando Bacot each contributing 15 in a losing effort.

Ochai Agbaji won the Final Four Most Outstanding Player award. He scored 12 points in the final after putting up 21 in Kansas’ semifinal win over Villanova on Saturday night.

Ochai Agbaji is the Most Outstanding Player of the men’s NCAA tournament 👏 @KUHoops pic.twitter.com/qJFtbvJIlo

— ESPN (@espn) April 5, 2022

The Jayhawks came back after trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half. That broke the record for the largest comeback in the history of the NCAA title game, surpassing the 15-point comeback Loyola Chicago staged against Cincinnati in 1963.

This was the first time North Carolina lost a game after leading by 15 or more at halftime in 162 games.

Author: Justin Graves