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Associated Press 228d

Ratings boost: NCAA title game viewership up 30 percent

Men's College Basketball, Villanova Wildcats

NEW YORK -- Perhaps with an assist from the memory of Villanova's Kris Jenkins, viewership for the NCAA national championship game between Gonzaga and North Carolina was up 30 percent from last year.

The finale on Monday night, which aired on CBS, was watched by an average of 22.998 million viewers, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co.

The game peaked at 26.105 million viewers from 11:15-11:30 p.m. EDT and also garnered a record 4.4 million live video streams, Nielsen said.

Last April, Jenkins hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer to give the Wildcats the title over North Carolina.

Although Monday night's game was often slow-paced and filled with fouls, it wasn't decided until the final minutes, with North Carolina prevailing 71-65.

The NCAA tournament, broadcast by both CBS and Turner Sports, was the second-most watched men's tournament in 23 years. It averaged 10.827 million viewers, up 16 percent from last year, Nielsen said.

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