North Carolina won its sixth NCAA championship Monday with a 76-69 victory against Gonzaga.
Twenty-four years before that, on April 5, 1993, another UNC team, coached by Dean Smith, was playing for the national title, this time against a Michigan squad that included Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard and Chris Webber.
With about 12 seconds left in the game and down 73-71, Webber called a timeout when the Wolverines didn’t have any left to call. Michigan was assessed a technical foul. UNC’s Donald Williams made both free throws and the Tar Heels ended up winning the NCAA championship, 77-71.
In 2002, Michigan vacated 170 games, including the 1993 title game against UNC, as self-imposed sanctions for a gambling scandal between a booster and players.
Here’s a look back at that game.
This story was originally appeared in The News & Observer on April 6, 1993.
Tar Heels slap five; Williams carries Heels to title over Michigan; Sweet Carolina
By Tom Harris
NEW ORLEANS -- North Carolina used a championship performance from sophomore Donald Williams and capitalized on a critical mistake by Michigan’s Chris Webber on Monday night to clinch a 77-71 victory over the Wolverines for the NCAA basketball championship.
Williams, whose three-point shooting helped carry the Tar Heels throughout the NCAA Tournament, made five three-pointers, scored a game-high 25 points and earned the Final Four outstanding player award.
Williams scored eight consecutive points in a late-game stretch in which Carolina erased a four-point Michigan lead. Then he scored the final four points from the foul line -- two after Webber had requested a time-out when the Wolverines had none left -- to secure the championship.
“In my opinion, it was a great basketball game, “ said UNC coach Dean Smith, who won his only previous NCAA crown in the same Louisiana Superdome 11 years earlier. “I think you have to hand it to our players for their competitive spirit, coming from behind to win against such a good team.”
The NCAA championship is the third for North Carolina, which won in 1957 and 1982.
Michigan, which had beaten Carolina 79-78 in an early-season match in the Rainbow Classic, failed to win the title for a second consecutive season. The Wolverines lost to Duke in the championship game last season.
Webber, who scored 23 points, committed his costly mistake with 11 seconds left and Carolina nursing a 73-71 lead. After rebounding a missed free throw by UNC’s Pat Sullivan, Webber moved quickly up court, then tried to call a time-out. The Wolverines had none left, and Williams’ two technical free throws put Michigan in a hole from which it could not escape.
“Strange things happen in this tournament, “ said Michigan coach Steve Fisher. “We had talked in our last time-out [with 46 seconds left] that we had no time-outs remaining. But Chris said he thought he heard somebody yelling time-out, and he stopped.
“It’s unfortunate, but North Carolina deserved to win.”
It was Webber who also fueled Michigan’s comeback midway through the second period. He scored the tying bucket on a reverse layup with 9:14 to go, then put the Wolverines ahead 60-58 on spectacular alley-oop bucket from teammate Juwan Howard with 8:32 left.
A three-pointer by guard Jalen Rose and an 18-footer by Jimmy King, scrambling against UNC’s ferocious defense, put the Wolverines ahead 67-63 with 4:14 left.
But North Carolina refused to wilt. Williams nailed his final three-pointer of the night to pull the Tar Heels within one. Then after King’s baseline drive was blocked away by George Lynch and Eric Montross on the baseline, Derrick Phelps finished off the fast break for a 68-67 lead with 3:08 remaining. Michigan never regained the lead.
King, who scored 15 for the Wolverines, missed a three-pointer with 2:51 to go, and Webber’s attempted save was picked up by Williams. Lynch, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds against the aggressive Michigan front, turned it into a 10-foot fallaway jumper for a 70-67 lead with 2:08 left.
Again, the Wolverines attacked, but Rose, attempting to drive the lane, lost the ball and Williams again came up with it.
The second half was cleanly played -- Carolina had three personals -- and Michigan had to foul repeatedly in hopes of getting the Tar Heels to the foul line. After the Wolverines’ sixth foul, the Heels capitalized on the in-bounds play, with Montross eluding his defender, taking a pass from Lynch and dunking for a 72-67 lead with 58 seconds to go.
Ray Jackson countered with an 18-footer 12 seconds later, again pulling Michigan within three, and the Wolverines used their final time-out.
“We had our chances, “ Fisher said. “But we just did not capitalize.”
Rose missed a three-point try -- the Wolverines were 5-for-11 from the arc -- but Webber followed to slice the lead to 72-71 with 36 seconds to go. Michigan then fouled Sullivan, who hit one of two free throws before Webber rebounded the second miss and made his fatal mistake. The final seconds belonged solely to Williams and the Tar Heels.
“They missed a couple of easy ones inside, and we came down and got something going, “ Smith said. “And even if the time-out hadn’t occurred, I thought we had Webber covered pretty well.
“What a terrific game in many ways.”
It was a contest of spurts from the beginning. Carolina jumped on top first, led by Montross, who had 16 points, and the heady floor play of Phelps, who despite a sore hip had nine points, six assists and three steals. But sparked by back-to-back three-pointers by senior reserve Rob Pelinka, Michigan launched a 19-4 run, turning a five-point UNC lead into a 23-13 Wolverine advantage.
Using tremendous defensive pressure and switching occasionally to an effective 2-3 zone, the Tar Heels steadily pulled back, and with 7:59 left in the half, Williams’ three-pointer knotted it at 25-25. Carolina led by 42-36 at halftime.
The Tar Heels’ biggest lead was 48-40 two minutes into the second half.
Carolina hit 13 of 21 shots (61.9 percent) in the second half and finished at 49.1 percent, less than a percentage point higher than Michigan’s 48.4. The Wolverines had a 33-29 edge on the boards.