Jayhawks complete historic comeback, stun Tar Heels

Final Four fans react to University of Kansas win over UNC

Kansas has claimed its fourth national championship in NCAA men’s basketball after securing a late comeback win taking down North Carolina 72-69.
In what was seemingly going to be a cruise to victory for the Tar Heels after going up 40-25 at halftime, the Jayhawks battled back and left the men in baby blue speechless. With the largest deficit being 16, it broke the record for the largest comeback in national championship history, surpassing when Loyala defeated Cincinnati in 1963, coming back from 15 in that game.
From Ravine Hall to Allegheny Hall, student eyes were glued to the screen watching the game. House parties and get-togethers were in order, fans of each side gathered to root for their team in hopes of bringing home a national championship. One notable event took place in the Henderson Campus Center, as the Gator’s Activity Programming Committee had nachos from Parkhurst and live streamed the game for students to come and enjoy themselves.
The event was set up in part by Syd Hammerman, ’25, who said there were around 10 people who came by to watch, all of them rooting for the Tar Heels. GAP has also hosted Super Bowl and World Series parties in the past.
“I remember one of the people watching was like, ‘I’ve been watching all the games for North Carolina, I’ve been rooting for them,’” Hammerman said. “And then after the game she said, ‘I’m gonna cry myself to sleep.’”
Hammerman’s company were not the only people who were rooting for UNC, as sophomore Zach Altenbaugh, ’24, and his roommate described the loss as a heartbreaking event.
“My roommate is a big UNC guy, so I was rooting for him and for them,” Altenbaugh said. “Also an eight seed against a one seed, I always root for the underdog so I was hoping they could pull it off.”
During the halftime break, Kansas center Udoka Azubuike was clapping his hands, trying to support his teammates saying they’ve been down before and have rallied back. In an interview with the New York Times, fellow teammate Christian Braun had this to say while in the locker room: “I was like, why are you smiling, dude? We’re down 15,” Braun said. “He was telling me, keep your head up, keep going, we’ll be all right. I was like, man, I don’t know if I’ve ever been here before. Down 15 in a national championship game. I’ve definitely never been there.”
Azubuike’s confidence was backed up by the team in the second half, as the Jayhawks finished with five players scoring in double figures. David McCormack came through with two of the biggest shots of the night, nailing a 2-pointer jumper to give Kansas a one point lead with 1:21 remaining, and again hitting a jumper to extend the lead to 3 with 22 seconds left on the clock.
It was not over yet, as Kansas merely got away with stepping out of bounds with four seconds on the clock, giving North Carolina one last shot to tie the game. Luckily for the Jayhawks, Caleb Love (who has been hot in the second half all tournament) missed the game tying three, sealing the Tar Heels fate and securing another national championship for the one seed. Carolina missed their final four shots of the game, all coming with an opportunity to tie it late.
It was almost a historic run for the Tar Heels. Coming into this tournament as the eight seed, their backs were against the wall almost the whole way. They strung together four wins on the road to the final two, taking down one seed Baylor to open up the tournament, and earning a historic win against their archrival, two seed Duke in the semi finals.
What seemed like a Cinderella story was not to come to fruition, as the Jayhawks had other plans in mind. After giving up 16 unanswered nearing the end of the first half, Kansas had their work cut out for them. The primary goal was to shut down Armando Bacot, who accumulated a double-double in the first half alone, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He finished the game with an even 15 points and 15 rebounds.
In regards to the whole tournament, students around campus said they were pleased as there was a lot of terrific basketball, including some major upsets with the St. Peter’s run, who made it to the elite eight as a 15 seed, and the Tar Heels upset in the semi finals to take down Coach K and company in his final season.