APTOPIX NCAA Final Four Michigan Louisville Basketball

Highlight-reel dunks from Harrell and Hardaway Jr. shook Atlanta

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What. A. Game.

What we witnessed on Monday night in the Georgia Dome may go down as one of the best, most entertaining National Championship games in the 75 year history of the NCAA Tournament. Louisville’s 82-76 victory over Michigan was not only the best game of the NCAA tournament, but also the best game of the entire season.

Early on it was clear that we were in for something special.

Trey Burke scored Michigan’s first seven points of the game. The Wolverines shot out to a 12-point lead on the shoulders of Spike Albrecht and his 17 first half points. But then Louisville made their run. Luke Hancock hit three-straight 3-pointers to cut the Michigan lead to just one, 36-35.

Then this happened.

Did you see where Peyton Siva left the ball for Montrezl Harrell? He had to jump and catch the ball from no more than two steps inside the foul line. It doesn’t matter how tall Harrell is. That was an impossible ally-oop to catch, let alone finish.

That should have been it. That was one of the best ally-oops of the season. But there was a reason why last night’s National Championship game was one of the best of all time.

Then this happened.

It’s safe to assume that Tim Hardaway Sr. could not dunk like that.

Harrell and Hardaway threw down two of the best dunks of the tournament, both coming in the most important game of the year.

But the National Championship game often showcases some of the best dunks of the tournament on a yearly basis. Who will ever forget Grant Hill’s monstrous one-handed ally-oop dunk against Kansas in the 1991 National Championship game.

Then there was Lorenzo Charles’ buzzer-beating tip-dunk that gave North Carolina State the 1983 National Championship victory over Houston, widely considered the greatest buzzer-beater in NCAA Tournament history.

The best players play their best when the stage is brightest and there is no stage brighter than the National Championship game. As redundant as that sounds, we have the video footage to back it up.

#DunkCity took over the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but Montrezl Harrell and Tim Hardaway Jr. reminded us that it didn’t end when the FGCU Eagles were eliminated in the Sweet 16.

You can contact Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

King Rice
AP
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Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.