Home » Sports » Basketball » Kris Jenkins lifts Villanova to NCAA title

Kris Jenkins lifts Villanova to NCAA title

Villanova players celebrates after Kris Jenkins, center, scores a game winning three point basket in the closing seconds of NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. Villanova won 77-74. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


Kris Jenkins overcame the shock of watching North Carolina’s Marcus Paige hit a double-clutch 3 to tie it by spotting up behind the right side of the arc and draining a 3 of his own at the buzzer to lift Villanova to a 77-74 victory and the national championship Monday night.

The second-seeded Wildcats (35-5), had a six-point lead with 1:52 left, but watched it slowly trickle away. Then, it was gone, when Paige jumped — and when Ryan Arcidacono started running at him — double clutched and pumped one from beyond the arc to tie the game at 74 with 4.7 seconds left.

After a timeout, Arcidacono worked the ball upcourt and got it to Jenkins, who swished it from about two steps behind the 3-point line.

“Kris told him he was going to be open, Arch made the perfect pass,” Villanova coach Jay Wright explained. “Kris lives for that moment.”

A few moments later, Jenkins was leaping over press row, hugging his family and shouting: “They said we couldn’t, they said we couldn’t, they said we couldn’t.”

It’s Villanova’s first title since 1985, when Rollie Massimino’s eighth-seeded underdogs beat star-studded Georgetown. That team was backstopped by eventual pros, Ed Pinckney and Dwayne McClain.

Jenkins, who was adopted by the family of North Carolina guard Nate Britt, now has a spot with Keith Smart, Lorenzo Charles and anyone else who ever made a late game-winner to win the whole thing.

Paige finished with 21 for the top-seeded Heels (33-7), who came one agonizing shot short of giving coach Roy Williams his third national title.