GLENDALE, Ariz. — Gonzaga's program-defining run to the national championship game ended in a flurry of whistles and missed shots.
Gonzaga struggled while its two big men fought foul trouble in the second half and lost its shooting touch, its bid for the program's first national championship dashed by a 71-65 loss to North Carolina on Monday night.
In control for most of the first half, the Zags (37-2) lost on a gamble when freshman center Zach Collins picked up his fourth foul after being put back in the game early in a whistle-filled second half.
Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga's 7-foot-1, 300-pound wall of a center, had to dance around foul trouble most of the second half as well, leaving Gonzaga unable to effectively initiate its inside-out game.
That helped lead to a stretch of more than eight minutes without a field goal and left the Zags reeling, but not out of it because of their defense.
Gonzaga held North Carolina to 4-of-27 shooting from 3-point range and 35 percent shooting overall to prevent the Tar Heels from running away from it.
Collins fouled out with 5:03 left and Karnowski was mostly ineffective, even before picking up his fourth foul.
The Zags still found a way to take a 65-63 lead with 1:53 left, but didn't score again as the Tar Heels scored the final eight points.
North Carolina went up 68-65 on Isaiah Hicks' jumper with 26 left and a blocked shot by Kennedy Meeks on Nigel Williams-Goss led to a breakaway dunk that sent the Tar Heels to their sixth national championship.
Karnowski had nine points on 1-of-8 shooting. Collins finished with seven points and nine rebounds while being limited to 14 minutes.