The Villanova Wildcats defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 77-74 Monday night in a stunning buzzer-beater, capturing the team's first NCAA championship title in 31 years.
The championship game, held at Houston's NRG Stadium, was close for much the night, with each team taking the lead. But with just 4.7 seconds left in the game, North Carolina's Marcus Paige sank a desperation 3-pointer to tie it up at 74.
Villanova's Kris Jenkins responded on the next possession, swishing a 3 at the buzzer, lifting the Wildcats to a 77-74 victory and shocking fans in one of the greatest ends to an NCAA tournament of all time.
The victory gave the Wildcats their second NCAA men's title, having won their only championship in a memorable 1985 final game when they upset Georgetown with a near perfect performance.
North Carolina had opened Monday as a 2-point favorite over Villanova at multiple Nevada sports books. The Tar Heels previously won the title five times in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.
The Tar Heels advanced to the championship game Saturday after beating Syracuse 83-66 as the Wildcats pounded the Oklahoma Sooners 95-51 — the biggest margin of victory in a national semifinal game.
Monday night's championship game kicked off with both teams taking turns leading by double figures.
It was only during the second half, after Ryan Arcidiacono scored two straight mid-range jumpers that Villanova was up 55-48.
Michael Jordan, who played for North Carolina, watched the game on Monday night. He was one of about a half dozen former Tar Heels who was in attendance at the championship game.
Former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino, 81, also watched the game. He led the Wildcats to the national title in 1985.
Kris Jenkins and Nate Britt, who are brothers, faced off against each other for Villanova and North Carolina, respectively.
The competitors are not brothers by blood, but grew up together in the same home since they were 11 years old, when Kris was adopted by the Britts.
"It's one of the best feelings I could have ever imagined," dad Nate Britt Sr. told ABC News before the game. "I love basketball so much. And to see my boys out there competing for national championship against one another, I couldn't think of anything better than that."
Kris will now have bragging rights for life after he scored the winning 3-pointer for the Wildcats at the buzzer.
During the first quarter of the game, Kris picked up two fouls and went to the bench. Nate entered the game moments later, but they did not face off until the final minute of the first-half, and Nate scored a floater for the Heels. In the second half, Kris picked up his third foul, but in all he scored 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting.
The boys actually met through basketball, when they played against each other in a competition at the age of 10, according to Britt Sr. The boys bonded and Kris later moved to Maryland to play on Britt Sr.'s team.
When Kris' mother, Felicia Jenkins, a former college basketball player, got a job coaching in South Carolina, she didn't want to separate her son from the team he loved and asked if the Britt family would take him in.
"When we made the decision to move... we just made a decision to put him in a more stable and safe environment," Jenkins told ABC News. "[We're] so blessed with the whole situation and very humbled about it."
The Britts became legal guardians of Kris in 2007. The boys have been very competitive throughout their lives, pushing each other to work harder.
"But they always took care of one another," Britt Sr. said. "The one thing about Kris and Nate, they love each other."
Britt Sr. as well as Kris' mother were both in the stands Monday night to cheer both boys on.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at email@example.com.
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