Within a month the UNC had gone from a light fall to a hard one like nails, and nearly won them the title :: WRALSportsFan.com

– Armand Bakota’s right ankle twisted again in the national championship, and he was no longer supported. He had already spent most of the last 24 hours preparing for this game, and when the ball was reduced to 1, Tar Heels ran out of chances in 50 seconds.

Becott stubbornly refused to accept the betrayal, breaking away from the ground where he was briefly crumpled when the game was going on the other end, and, his face showing pain from every movement, tried to jump to where the game continued.

This one moment, so neatly described this season for North Carolina, is one that began with stunning defeats and sharp defeats and strength issues, and ended with an incredible, magical run that went through several breaks.

Bacott said he would have to be without his right leg.

Less than two months ago, former UNC forward and current assistant Pete Jason Capel expressed his feelings for Tar Heels.

At that moment, Capel was right.

However after this point?

Carolina decided they would no longer be that team.

Caleb Love also tucked his ankle. Twice. Brady Manek made a few shots in the face. Paf Johnson vomited after a blow to the abdomen and was already dealing with a severe hip injury.

Playing through injuries is one thing. Many players do this, especially at this time of year.

Earlier this season it would have taken a pen to bring down the UNC. Until the end of the season? A bulldozer would be needed.

Throughout the year when UNC went, they looked unbeatable.

But they did not ride often, and they could often be defeated. And even the slightest failure spun them.

Such was Bacot when his career in Carolina began. He will have great games and then disappear. As a freshman, he has been on one of Carolina’s worst teams in 50 years. His lack of confidence was obvious, and he was often so lost in his head that he was not seen for a long time.

But now? It seems that this player is far away.

The freshman version of Becot wouldn’t have thought twice about getting out of the game with a damaged ankle.

The younger version of it also did not think.

“I don’t think there were any difficulties. We all really wanted to win. We went so far, and for us it was a huge goal – just to hang a banner,” said Bakot. “And we just really wanted to win. I really won’t let anything stop us from reaching that point.”

Trying and losing is sometimes harder than not trying, because at least you can say you don’t care. This is what we ordinary people are dealing with day in and day out. Who wants to try to make friends if you can be denied? Who wants to go on a date when it could end in grief?

But without risk there is no reward.

Carolina knew she had to give herself completely to every game and every possession to get to the place. And that’s what he did, starting at least in part with that loss of Pete and continuing to grow, it’s a sense of resilience, firmness, perseverance.

Whenever things seemed bleak, every time it seemed like it was over for UNC at this NCAA tournament, they weren’t over. The UNC has always had an answer.

And she tried once again to have one in the national title game.

The UNC had a mini version of the game against Baylor, in which he nearly blew the 25-point lead.

This time their biggest advantage in the first half was 16, and in the break they led with a score of 15. However, UNC never shot well, and this continued throughout the game. But they stopped fighting back from their own missed shots.

However, Kansas was always going to run into it. Carolina had the answer, but in the end it was not enough.

Before this game there was a lot of talk that because of the victory over Duke UNC was playing with home money. This is true, of course.

But not for Carolina players and coaches. Of course, they didn’t have to be at this national championship. But they were in it. It’s hard to get to this stage of the NCAA tournament, no matter how good you are. It is possible that no UNC player is returning to it.

Home money for fans. The players don’t want any of that.

They just wanted to win.

RJ Davis ’eyes were red and swollen. Davis, who was so charming against Duke and Baylor, failed to score enough points in this to lead his team to victory.

Paf Johnson sobbed as Tar Heels left the court. Only a freshman, he will have a chance to return to the title game. But ask his older brother Cam how easy it is to get there.

He had a heroic game reminiscent of Grayson Allen’s stellar turn in the 2015 national championship. But that was not enough.

“I can honestly say that I gave everything I had. And that’s what I try to do in every game and every day of my life,” Johnson said.

Until his vomit washed off the floor of the Superdome, he really left on the court everything he had.

Caleb Love, who could not repeat his role as a hero because his 3-point miss would have leveled him, looked straight down during the post-game press conference. I haven’t had to talk about my teammates yet.

“It hurts us to go so far and go that way, through everything we’ve been through. But the positive thing is that I wouldn’t want to go through this with anyone else, ”Love said, calming down as his eyes filled with tears.

Hubert Davis is an emotional person. Holey Black said Sunday that he sometimes cries before games. Not national games or games of the final four – just ordinary old games.

Davis, like any good parent, wants his players to equalize and then pass on his achievements.

In his first year, his team did so by reaching the national title game, something Davis ’teams never did, missing out on a 1991 game.

It’s hard to know whether Davis grew up as a coach or not, or at least in Division X and O. Because we don’t know how he was before. But he clearly mastered many aspects of the head coach’s job, and especially after he got the final element – to get the team to do whatever it takes to win.

And he loved them. Tough and without reservations.

He wanted them to have moments like him. He helped lead them there. But he also has to share them.

Looking in the locker room at the sea of ​​swollen eyes and faces in his hands, he remembered where they came from. The program is in transition, the program is in doubt, the players who failed to cut it are an unknown coach.

Now he has gone to the national championship in his first year and has shown the world that his players are special. Maybe because they’re special, but it’s also because Davis himself is.

“I told them this after the game that my desperation to have this experience in Carolina’s form was very important to me. I was very grateful to feel that this year they were able to get a series of experiences that they could capture to lean on and smile, “Davis said.” I don’t remember a moment in my life when I was disappointed, but I’m just filled such a great honor. I am so proud of these guys for what they have done for themselves individually as a team, in the way that they have represented our university, this program, our community.

“I can’t ask them for anything more than what they did. And I am extremely proud of each of them. “

Caleb lav and parents

Either Becot dragged his useless ankle across the court to try to play, or Johnson literally vomited, they left everything they had on the floor in New Orleans.

And it is a harbinger of what awaits us in Chapel Hill.

“Just with coach Davis as a coach he was awesome all year. And everyone in our coaching staff was great. And only in this program we all loved being here all year and just playing for coach Davis,” Becott said.

Then, just before he, his teammates and the head coach left the final press conference of the college basketball season, he added:

“This won’t be the last time you see this program here.”

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