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Wizards' Marcin Gortat still cheering for Przemek Karnowski after Gonzaga loses title game

Wizards' Marcin Gortat still cheering for Przemek Karnowski after Gonzaga loses title game

Wizards center Marcin Gortat has made no secret of his rooting interests in the NCAA Tournament. He's been cheering hard for Gonzaga's Polish center Przemek Karnowski, who is his backup on the Polish national basketball team. 

And just because the Zags lost in the National Championship last night didn't mean Gortat was done hyping up his friend. After the game went final, the Polish Machine took to Twitter to try to put Karnowski's accomplishments in perspective.

Karnowski was a big part of Gonzaga's run through the Tournament, both literally (he's 7-1 and 300 pounds) and strategically, using his size and strength in the paint. His bushy beard and mountainous figure made him a kind of playing mascot for the Zags. 

Watching the game last night, Gortat and others taped cut-outs in the shape of Karnowski's beard to their faces. 

Gonzaga and UNC traded shots within a single-basket margin of each other for most of the super-competitve game, but the Tar Heels found a way to hang on to a lead in the final moments to win. Karnowski couldn't get his shot to fall all evening, hitting only one of eight attempts from the floor.

The 23-year-old senior finished with 9 points (hitting 7 of 9 free throws) and 9 rebounds in the loss. 

Whether Karnowski makes it to the NBA now could come down to his build, as Gortat said in an interview with For The Win. But one thing's for sure: He made his countryman proud. 

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North Carolina tops Gonzaga to win NCAA Tournament, avenging last year's title loss

North Carolina tops Gonzaga to win NCAA Tournament, avenging last year's title loss

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead three-point play and North Carolina scored the last eight points for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga and a title that heartbreakingly eluded the Tar Heels last year.

It was an ugly affair, filled with 44 fouls and 52 free throws but, ultimately, the contest with the result the Tar Heels (33-7) simply had to have.

This was their redemption season, and they closed the deal a year after losing on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to Villanova.

Carolina was down 2 with 1:40 left when Jackson took a pass under the bucket from Theo Pinson, made a layup and got fouled.

The free throw made it 66-65, and after a Gonzaga miss on the other end, Isaiah Hicks made a shot to help North Carolina start pulling away to the school's sixth title.

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Marcin Gortat congratulates "Polish machine" Przemek Karnowski

Marcin Gortat congratulates "Polish machine" Przemek Karnowski

Gonzaga beat South Carolina Saturday night 77-73 to advance to the NCAA Tournament Championship. Judging by his social media posts, Wizards center Marcin Gortat was happy with the outcome of the game. 

Gortat posted this photo on Instagram shortly after the game, congratulating Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski, who he describes as "polish machine," "mountain," and "Poland's finest."

Gortat's hashtags aren't an exaggeration. The Gonzaga big man is a mountainous 7' 1" and 300 pounds, is Gortat's backup on the Polish national team, and started the second half of Saturday's game after suffering what looked like a very painful eye injury in the first half (much like a machine). Karnowski and Gortat room together when they travel internationally with the Polish national team.

Karnowski will play as a Gonzaga Bulldog for the last time in Monday's championship game against North Carolina.

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