HOUSTON --Marcus Paige said he was "99 percent sure" the North Carolina Tar Heels were going to beat the Villanova Wildcats in overtime of the national championship game.
The psychology of their comeback -- from down 10 to his double-clutch 3-pointer to tie the game -- had momentum on the Tar Heels' side.
Read more: Paige not a champion, but still a winner.
"We were 4.7 seconds away from winning the game because I told the team, ... all we had to do was get to overtime and the game would be ours," Paige said. "And I truly believe that, I think our whole team believes that."
Instead, Kris Jenkins did the unbelievable, answering Paige's 3-pointer with one of his own as the buzzer sounded, allowing Villanova to claim a 77-74 win.
Jenkins inbounded the ball and then trailed the play before receiving the ball from Ryan Arcidiacono. Jenkins then launched it over the outstretched hand of Isaiah Hicks.
"It's 4.7 -- you have a mental clock in your head, you kind of know you get caught watching the ball instead of defending til the end," Paige said.
Paige said he had a bad feeling when Jenkins got the ball because it was a pretty open look and he led the Wildcats in made 3s this season.
"So he got it off and all you can do is pray when the ball is in the air," Paige said. "I felt like it was in the air forever. The fireworks go off right there and that moment you've been fighting for, clawing for, hoping every day for, dreaming about, just goes away that fast. It's hard to describe."
Paige scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the final 8:51, including eight points in the final 93 seconds. His 3-pointer that tied the game 74-74 could have been his shining moment had the Tar Heels forced overtime and won.
"I thought that was it," Paige said. "Maybe that was my bad for not taking that 4.7 seriously, but he hit a shot that's going to be on every 'One Shining Moment' video for as long as they do that."
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