In Their Own Words: Villanova, UNC Describe the Epic Final Seconds

CNN/ Newswire | 4/5/2016, 10:49 a.m.
This is a five-second stretch that will be replayed from years to come. With a buzzer-beating three-point shot by junior ...
Villanova forward Daniel Ochefu cuts down the net following the team's thrilling NCAA men's basketball national championship win over No. 1 seed North Carolina on April 4, 2016. The final score: 77-74.

By Jill Martin


HOUSTON (CNN) -- This is a five-second stretch that will be replayed from years to come.

With a buzzer-beating three-point shot by junior forward Kris Jenkins, No. 2 seed Villanova won the NCAA men's basketball championship over No. 1 seed North Carolina on Monday night. It's the first buzzer beater on a three-pointer in national championship history.

Both teams recount how the final seconds unfolded.

13 seconds left

After Villanova junior guard Josh Hart hit two free throws to make it 74-71, UNC inbounded the ball with 13 seconds to go. While off balance, UNC senior guard Marcus Paige hit an acrobatic three-point shot with 4.7 seconds remaining. It had given UNC life, tying it at 74. Seat cushions flew all over the stadium in celebration.

UNC head coach Roy Williams: "We ran (isolation) for (Paige) the last one. We did have another option, but he was the best option. I wanted the ball in his hands."

Paige: "We ran a screen for me to hit the ball. I had a feeling Villanova would switch it. They did. Took it away. Daniel (Ochefu) fell down, slipped on the court. I knew I was going to have to shoot it.

"My instinct kicked in right away to throw the ball to Brice (Johnson) right under the basket. That's why I hesitated with the ball when I jumped. Obviously we needed three.

"You know, I just wanted to have the ball in my hands in that situation.

"I told my team when I made the shot, we go to overtime, we got 4.7 seconds to play defense and this game is ours. No matter what, we were going to win in overtime because that's just how the game was going to go."

Williams: "I don't know that I've ever had anybody make a tougher shot than Marcus Paige made."

UNC sophomore guard Joel Berry II: "That's what Marcus is capable of doing. He's been doing that his whole career here. He's just that tough of a guy. You might look at him and think he doesn't look as tough, but he's a tough player. He's a great player.

"He stepped up. That's what we needed. Especially, you know, with him being a senior, that was his last game. He did a great job, man."

Paige: "We knew we could fight back, and we did."

Williams: "He turned a broken play into a great play."

4.7 seconds left

Villanova takes a timeout and draws up a final play.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright: "We have an end-of-the-game situation play. We put it in (Ryan) Arcidiacono's hands. It's his job to make the decision. Kris told him he was going to be open."

Arcidiacono: "(It's) something we work on every day at practice."

Paige: "We just needed 4.7 seconds of defense."

4.7 seconds left

But the celebration by UNC fans was premature. Arcidiacono, a senior guard, found Jenkins, who hit the game-winning shot as the horn sounded.