After one huge battle, in which they had to go through the overtimes, Virginia Cavaliers won their first NCAA title, by defeating Texas Tech Red Raiders, 85-77 (68-68).
It couldn’t be better for Tony Bennett and his boys after suffering an embarrassing exit from the tournament more than a year ago. They’ve become the first No.1 ever to be eliminated in the first round to a No.16.
But all that will be forgotten now, and all the critics will be silenced.
The Cavs were on the verge of losing this one too, even though they had a 10-point lead in the middle of the second half. After Kyle Guy’s three-pointer with 10:22 before the end, Virginia was up 53-43. But then the Red Raiders started playing their trademark defense, and held the Cavs scoreless for almost three minutes, while dropping 8 unanswered points on the other side.
With 22 seconds to go, Texas Tech was leading three points, 68-65.
DeAndre Hunter stepped in then, saving the day. The 6-7 sophomore guard hit a downtown shot to tie the game, and to keep his team alive.
On the other side, Jarrett Culver had two chances to win a game, but on both occasions he missed it.
It is interesting that from 17 points in the overtimes, Virginia scored 12 from the free throw line. Some of the Texas Tech players and staff members were very angry at the refs because of the criteria in the additional five minutes.
DeAndre Hunter scored 27 points, and had 9 boards, hitting four threes from five attempts. Kyle Guy also made four downtown shots, and he had 24 points.
Ty Jerome had an all-around game in Minneapolis last night. 16 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders’ offense was diversified. Brandone Francis had a team-high off the bench, 17 points, Davide Moretti added 15, same as Jarrett Culver who had 9 boards and 5 assists as well.
One of the best players of the NCAA tournament missed all of his six three-point attempts. Overall Culvert was 5 of 22 from the field.
Kyle Guy was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
This is the first title for the Cavaliers, who will definitely lose some players after this summer but have excellent foundations to continue dominating the NCAA in the years to come.