NCAA Latest: Virginia’s clutch tourney goes down in history

Posted at 11:41 PM, Apr 08, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Latest on the NCAA Tournament championship game between Virginia and Texas Tech (all times local)

11:26 p.m.

Virginia’s nail-biting trip through the NCAA Tournament will go down in history as one of the most clutch performances from game-to-game by any championship team.

The Cavaliers’ overtime victory over Texas Tech made them just the sixth title team to win multiple-OT games in a tournament, and the first since Arizona accomplished the feat in 1997.

They outscored their opponents by a scant 45 points, the third-lowest margin of victory by a championship team since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

The only comfortable game was their opening win over No. 16 seed Gardner-Webb, and that came after falling into an early hole. Virginia beat Oklahoma 63-51 in the second round, edged Oregon 53-49 in the regional semifinals and needed a last-second floater to force OT in a win over Purdue.

“We have a saying: The most faithful win,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “These guys were so faithful. Obviously we had some amazing plays.”

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.

11:14 p.m.

As Virginia’s players were busy cutting the nets down following their first national title win over Texas Tech, congratulations were pouring in across social media.

One of them came from the UMBC basketball team, which tweeted: “What an incredible season for UVA. That was truly a turnaround for the ages. Congratulations, champs!”

It was UMBC that beat Virginia in the first round of last year’s tournament, the first time a No. 16 had ever defeated a No. 1 seed. And it was that historic upset that fueled the Cavaliers all season and right into the Final Four, where they dispatched the Red Raiders in overtime.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


11:05 p.m.

Kyle Guy has been voted the Final Four’s most outstanding player after his crucial foul shots sent Virginia to the national title game, and his 24 points against Texas Tech helped the Cavaliers win their first national title.

Guy was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter, who had a career-high 27 points and nine rebounds against the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech standout Jarrett Culver and Matt Mooney completed the five-man team.

But it was Guy whose performance shined brightest. He made three free throws with 0.6 seconds left to beat Auburn in the national semifinals before his starring turn Monday night.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.

10:48 p.m.

Virginia has won the first men’s basketball championship in school history, getting a career-high 27 points from De’Andre Hunter and clutch play from Kyle Guy to beat Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime.

The first No. 1 seed out a year ago is the last one standing this year.

Hunter drained a 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds left to force the first overtime since 2008, when Mario Chalmers’ miracle helped Kansas top Memphis in San Antonio. The big forward continued to make plays in the extra session, including another 3 during an 11-0 run that put the game away.

Go ahead, Virginia fans: Time to yell “Wahoo!”

Guy finished with 24 points and Ty Jerome had 16 for the Cavaliers, who like the Red Raiders were appearing in the title game for the first time. Braxton Key added six points and 10 boards.

Brandone Francis had 17 points to lead five players in double-figures scoring for Texas Tech. Jarrett Culver and Davide Moretti scored 15 apiece and Kyler Edwards had 12.

The teams matched a championship game record with 21 combined 3-pointers.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


10:32 p.m.

Texas Tech and Virginia are headed to overtime in the national title game, the first time it will be decided in an extra session since Kansas beat Memphis in 2008 in San Antonio.

The Red Raiders trailed 65-64 when Jarrett Culver hit a go-ahead basket, and Norense Odiase -a 61 percent foul shooter- added two free throws to extend the lead with 22.5 seconds to go.

Rather than call timeout, the Cavaliers’ Ty Jerome rushed up the left side of the floor and kicked it across to De’Andre Hunter, whose 3-pointer knotted the game 68-all with 12.98 seconds left.

Texas Tech had a couple chances to win the game in regulation, but Jarrett Culver missed the first attempt. Virginia got the rebound but threw the ball out of bounds with a single second left, and Culver missed his second try on the in-bound.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


10:10 p.m.

Texas Tech’s bench is keeping coach Chris Beard’s team alive against Virginia.

Brandone Francis has 15 points and Kyler Edwards has 10, helping to make up for off games from star guard Jarrett Culver and forward Tariq Owens. All told, the Texas Tech bench has outscored Virginia’s backups 25-2 with just under 5 minutes left in the national title game.

The Red Raiders will need their backups to overcome a six-point deficit down the stretch.

Owens, who was trying to play through a sprained ankle, has already fouled out. He finished with just three points and five rebounds.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


10:00 p.m.

Virginia is closing in on the school’s first national title in basketball, and sharpshooter Kyle Guy is almost certainly closing in on the Final Four MVP award.

Guy, whose three foul shots with 0.6 seconds left beat Auburn in the semifinals, has hit four 3-pointers and has a game-high 18 points as Virginia leads 55-47 with 7:23 to go at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Red Raiders haven’t made it easy, though.

Jarrett Culver has started to come alive in the second half, though he had a layup wiped away by a charging foul that would have made it 53-49. Ty Jerome beat the shot clock at the other end with a tough jumper, giving Virginia what amounted to a four-point shift.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


9:45 p.m.

Virginia gets plenty of credit for its tight, aggressive man-to-man defense, but the Cavaliers have pulled ahead in the national title game in part because Texas Tech can’t make a shot.

The Red Raiders missed their first five shots of the second half, and a couple of them were wide open looks. They’ve found some space on the perimeter against the Cav’s pack-line defense, but so far the only one taking advantage of it has been Brandone Francis.

Matt Mooney, the hero of the Red Raiders’ semifinal win with his barrage of 3-pointers, is 1 for 4 from the field and 0 for 2 from beyond the arc. And star guard Jarrett Culver missed his first eight shots before getting a pair of buckets in the lane.

Kyle Guy continues to pace Virginia with 15 points and it’s 42-35 with 14:15 to play.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


9:10 p.m.

Ty Jerome’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer has Virginia 20 minutes away from a national title.

The Cavaliers and Texas Tech played to a stalemate most of the first half before Jerome buried a dead-on 3 to send coach Tony Bennett’s team into the locker room with a 32-29 lead.

The second half could be decided by which star shows up.

Virginia’s best NBA prospect, DeAndre Hunter, missed his first seven shots before getting a nifty up-and-under to go with 90 seconds left in the half. Tech counterpart Jarrett Culver, a projected lottery pick, is 0 for 6 from the field and has just three points in 17 minutes.

Kyle Guy leads the Cavs with 10 points. Davide Morretti and Brandone Francis have eight apiece for the Red Raiders.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis


9:01 p.m.

The tortillas are flying at U.S. Bank Stadium.

One of them even landed on the floor.

Texas Tech fans typically fling tortillas around at football games, but a whole bunch of them were smuggled into the student section at the national title game. The one that landed on the floor came after Texas Tech ripped off a 19-4 run to take a 25-21 lead in the game

Most of them were being tossed into the air, but the one that hit the elevated floor caused a stoppage in play and a reminder from the public address announcer not to throw things on the court.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


8:53 p.m.

Texas Tech’s Brandone Francis is playing inspired for his late friend Nipsey Hussle.

Francis has come off the bench to hit a pair of 3-pointers, packed around another 3 from teammate Kyler Edwards, to help the Red Raiders shake off a poor shooting start against Virginia in the national title game.

Francis’s family was close friends with Hussle, a well-known rapper who was shot and killed outside of his Los Angeles clothing store last Sunday.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


8:40 p.m.

The first salvo of the national title game has been thrown by Virginia.

The Cavaliers have been pounding the offensive boards to create second-chance opportunities, and Ty Jerome’s 3-pointer and a dunk by Braxton Key forced Texas Tech’s Chris Beard to call timeout.

Then, the Red Raiders’ coach lit into star guard Jarrett Culver.

Culver has struggled throughout the tournament, and he still hasn’t found his range at U.S. Bank Stadium. He’s missed his first three shots, including a dunk that was swatted away, and clanked a free throw while struggling against Virginia’s stingy defense.

The Cavaliers lead 11-6 midway through the first half.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


8:30 p.m.

The national title game between Texas Tech and Virginia is underway.

If the rest of the game goes like the first four minutes, good luck staying awake.

The two defensive-minded teams are putting on a clinic at that end of the floor, each forcing the other into using the entire 30-second shot clock before throwing up off-balance heaves.

Virginia is 1 of 5 from the floor. Texas Tech is 0 for 4. Tech led 3-2.

As a result, the team that wins might just need to do something that is exceedingly rare for them: run. Texas Tech has already started to push the tempo off misses, trying to create open shots against the Cavs’ pack-line defense before it has a chance to set up.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.

8:17 p.m.

Texas Tech has Patrick Mahomes. Virginia has Katie Couric.

There are probably a whole bunch of other notable alumni inside U.S. Bank Stadium to see the Red Raiders and Cavaliers play for the national championship, too. Neither school has ever been on this stage, so it makes sense that some of their most famous fans would want to see the game.

Virginia standout Ralph Sampson was in the crowd, though he typically follows the Cavaliers pretty closely. So was longtime coach Dick Bennett, whose son Tony Bennett had led Virginia to within one victory over the program’s first basketball title.

Dick Bennett, who brought Wisconsin to the Final Four in 2000, often does not attend his son’s games because he gets too antsy. But he was sitting right behind the bench Monday night. The Bennetts are the second father-son combo to lead teams to the Final Four joining former Georgetown coaches John Thompson and John Thompson III.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.

8:08 p.m.

Tariq Owens is in the starting lineup for Texas Tech after spraining his right ankle in Texas Tech’s national semifinal victory over Michigan State.

Owens landed on teammate Norense Odiase underneath the basket and left that game, only to return briefly in the second half. He did not practice Sunday while wearing a walking boot, and he was still in the boot when he arrived at U.S. Bank Stadium on Monday night.

He shed the boot and warmed up with his teammates before tipoff against Virginia.

– Dave Skretta reporting from Minneapolis.


6:45 p.m.

Texas Tech forward Tariq Owens had a protective boot on his injured right foot when the Red Raiders arrived at U.S. Bank Stadium for the NCAA championship game Monday night against Virginia.

The 6-foot-10 senior rolled an ankle in the second half against Michigan State in the Final Four. The team’s leading shot blocker was confident he would play in the title game after that win, talking to reporters at his locker about how a new tape job on his ankle allowed him to go back in against the Spartans.

But Owens was not made available to the media on Sunday and coach Chris Beard declined to update the St. John’s transfer’s status during his news conference. It was a curious move given that Owens finished the semifinal.

CBS reporter Tracy Wolfson tweeted about two hours before tip-off that she spoke with Beard, who says Owens probably would not play under normal circumstances but will be out there against the Cavaliers.


6:05 p.m.

It’s difficult to overstate De’Andre Hunter’s importance to Virginia in the title game of the NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-7 redshirt sophomore is second on the team in scoring at 14.9 points to go with 5.0 rebounds per game. He’s efficient offensively, shooting 52% from the field, 42% from 3-point range and 78% from the foul line.

And of course, there’s the defensive side of the ball, where Hunter is versatile enough to chase guards or tussle with big men inside.

With Hunter in the lineup, Virginia has won 65 of 70 games over the past two seasons. That’s a 92.9% winning percentage.

Of the five losses, two came last year against West Virginia and Virginia Tech. Hunter was sidelined last year with an injury when the Cavaliers lost in stunning fashion to UMBC, the first 16-over-1 upset since the tournament expanded.

This year, Virginia lost twice to Duke in the regular season and to Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinals.

– Aaron Beard reporting from Minneapolis


5:10 p.m.

A Texas Tech victory against Virginia in the NCAA Tournament championship game would mark an odd first: The Red Raiders would become the first team to win the title after losing their first conference tournament game.

The Red Raiders were the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament and were bounced by last-place West Virginia on March 13 in what was probably the most surprising result from the major conference tournaments.

Texas Tech could also on Monday night become the first team since Connecticut in 1999 to win a title the same year it makes its first Final Four. This breakthrough by the Red Raiders would be even more sudden.

UConn had reached the Elite Eight three times in the previous nine tournaments, and had three other Sweet 16 appearances before winning it all in 1999 by beating Duke. The Red Raiders had never been to an Elite Eight before last season and had only three Sweet 16 appearances in the previous 40 years. From 2008-15, Tech didn’t even make the NCAA Tournament.


4:25 p.m.

Virginia’s road to this national championship game hit quite the pothole last year with the historic loss to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round. The Cavaliers endured yet more turbulence over the summer, in the form of a team-building whitewater rafting trip on the New River organized by coach Tony Bennett.

“Some of our guys were scared to death,” Bennett said, singling out guard De’Andre Hunter.

Center Mamadi Diakite fell in that category, too, when Bennett sneaked under water and grabbed his leg, uncertain what lurked beneath the surface.

After the previous season ended so startlingly, the Cavaliers brought into the fall a strong bond from such a painful experience. The rafting trip further strengthened those ties.

“The coaches looked sort of like players. We could interact and have fun. That hierarchy wasn’t here,” Diakite said. “We were just playing around.”

When Bennett addressed the team before the Purdue game in the South regional final, pondering the journey that took them to the verge of the Final Four, he teared up as he spoke. Bennett thought back to that summer day when he wondered what the coming year would bring.

“It was the most beautiful setting just floating down the river with these guys,” Bennett said.

– Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis


2:30 p.m.

A look at advanced statistics for the NCAA Tournament shows that Virginia’s offense has been more efficient than Texas Tech, but the Red Raiders are locking down on opponents at a tougher rate.

The Cavaliers have scored an average of nearly 1.14 points per possession while scoring on a little better than 50% of their possessions in the tournament. That was slightly better than the Red Raiders, who averaged 1.08 points per possession while scoring on about 48% of their tournament possessions.

Virginia continues to play slower-paced games overall by averaging 57.8 possessions per game in the tournament. Texas Tech averages 64.4 possessions.

Yet while Virginia’s offense has been more efficient in the tournament, the Red Raiders’ defense has been tougher statistically. Texas Tech has held all five of its tournament opponents to less than a point per possession.

– Aaron Beard reporting from Minneapolis


2 p.m.

Texas Tech and Virginia are each going for their first national titles backed by hard-nosed defenses that were among the best in the nation.

Virginia (34-3) the standard-bearer in lockdown basketball. The Cavaliers are going against the new kids on the defensive block, the Texas Tech Red Raiders (31-6).

The over/under for points is 118. The over/under on bruises may be higher.

The result will give the NCAA Tournament its first first-time champion since coach Billy Donovan won it all with Florida in 2006.

Texas Tech reached the Elite Eight for the first time last season and Virginia lost its previous two trips to the Final Four, in 1981 and 1984.

The last time two teams who had never won a championship played in the title game was Michigan State against Indiana State in 1979. That’s right, Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird.

The game Monday night tips at 8:20 p.m. Central time (9:20 p.m. Eastern).