From Worst Loss To National Champions, VA Downs Tech
A season after the Virginia Cavaliers were the first No. 1 seed to fall to a 16 seed in UMBC in 2018, in 2019 they are National Champions! Virginia defeats Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime, a much more entertaining game than most would have thought.
This was the first time both of these programs were getting the opportunity to play for a National Championship.
Both of these teams were ranked in the top three in points allowed on defense this season (VA No. 1 and TX Tech No. 3 which is also the seeds that each of these schools were coming into the tournament). Therefore, you knew it would be a defensive battle coming in. However, we got the highest scoring total through the first half out of any of the Final Four match-ups.
During the first half, this game would not disappoint as Virginia hit a three at the buzzer to take a one-possession lead into the halftime locker room, 32-29 VA.
It took a little while for both teams to get into the flow of this one but once they did the game moved very smoothly.
For Texas Tech, it was Brandone Francis who would spark the Red Raiders off the bench with eight points nailing both his attempts from long range. Guard Davide Moretti also poured in eight points himself.
On the Cavaliers side, it was Kyle Guy who led the way with 10 points and Ty Jerome had eight. Both guys shot 2/4 from three-point range in the first half.
In the second half, Virginia would open the game up and extend their lead to 10 points but Tech would fight back as basketball is a game of runs. Both De'Andre Hunter and Jarrett Culver had slow first halves but both would pick up their games in the second half.
The critical moment in the second half was when the Red Raiders were leading 68-65 with 22 seconds to go, Ty Jermone drove to the basket, Culver vacated his man in Hunter, Jerome found him for the wide-open three and he nailed it for the tie.
Texas Tech would get another possession to try and win it with the game knotted at 68 but the play drawn up wasn't executed as Culver's fadeaway baseline jumper was blocked. Overtime!
In overtime, it began with a back and forth battle but about halfway through the Cavaliers used an 11-0 run to take an eight-point lead that they would not relinquish as they're National Champions for the first time in school's history.
De'Andre Hunter led the way with 27 points, he scored 22 of them in the second half/OT and had seven rebounds. Kyle Guy also put in 24 points and shot 4-9 from distance. Ty Jerome nearly had a triple-double as he went for 16 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists.