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Post-game proved crucial throughout the Final Four

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — David McCormack’s two late baskets in the paint to help Kansas pass North Carolina in the NCAA championship game followed a Final Four trend.

The way the teams played in the position had a major influence on how games played.

McCormack scored the final four points in Monday night’s national title game to finish with 15 points and 10 rebounds in Kansas’ 72-69 triumph.

His final field goal came after Tar Heels center Armando Bacot, whose strong start gave North Carolina a 15-point halftime lead, needed help getting to the bench after aggravating an ankle injury that arose during the second half of his influential semi-final performance. Saturday evening.

Late-game heroism capped a memorable Final Four for the Jayhawks big man.

In the first semifinal game, Villanova lacked the size to handle the 6-foot-10 McCormack, who had two thumbs on anyone guarding him. He threw several thunderous dunks and repeatedly waved Kansas fans to “raise the roof” of the Superdome en route to a game-high 25 points.

The Jayhawks cruised to an 81-65 victory in which they led most of the second half by double digits.

Bacot, meanwhile, outplayed Duke’s post players in the other semi.

With 7-1 Duke center Mark Williams at fault and playing just 16 minutes, Bacot was able to take control of the paint, grabbing 21 rebounds to go with his 11 points. Williams finished with eight points and four rebounds, and the Tar Heels took an 81-77 victory.

With McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot 6-8 for the Jayhawks having their game limited by foul issues in the first half of the Finals, UNC’s Bacot had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first 20 minutes, despite his sore ankle .

But McCormack asserted himself in the second half, when he had nine points and seven rebounds. During that same streak, Bacot was limited to just three points and five rebounds in the final 20 minutes, during which Kansas outscored the Tar Heels by 18 points to post the biggest comeback in a title game in the league. NCAA Tournament.

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More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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