Virginia Defeats Texas Tech to Secure School's 1st NCAA Men's Basketball Title

Arnold Nichols
April 10, 2019

In terms of my guys, I've never been more proud in coaching. There is one injury concern for Coach Chris Beard's club and that's to forward Tariq Owens. So we knew they were going to make plays. We made it all the way to the Final Four. "It's a goal we started out with at the beginning of the season". He hit three free throws to finish off the Tigers in the Final Four. "I said earlier, it's a really special group because we all had the same 'Why?' among other 'whys.' But to share the same one, and to battle everything we battled through, and come out on top, it's a fantastic feeling".

Up until this point, Virginia rode the efforts of guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome.

Virginia was the first ever number 1 seed to lose in the first round a season ago, and they are looking for the ultimate revenge.

"A lot of people did jump off that train", Jerome said afterward. "We came together, and we always believed in ourselves". The game turned on a questionable replay review of a ball going out of bounds, with possession awarded to Virginia, who were ahead by two points with a minute left in overtime.

"We've been resilient", said Mooney, staring at the floor, his voice choked with emotion. "That, I think, has prepared you for this moment to be able to handle the pressure or the intensity of a national championship game". Nevertheless, Guy, Jerome and Hunter powered an offense that was just as good as if not better than the fabled Cavaliers defense in ACC play. And who drew Jarrett Culver on defense in a battle of predicted National Basketball Association lottery picks and held him to 15 points on 5-of-22 shooting.

Bennett, whose father Dick Bennett led Wisconsin to a Final Four in 2000, joined exclusive company when reaching the Final Four, making him part of the second father-son pair to reach the Final Four as head coaches.

Jerome, who had 16 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds in the game, noted the remarkable unity of this Virginia team when reflecting on the win. Culver's close-out out wasn't quick enough to prevent Hunter from setting his feet, squaring his shoulder and dropping in the biggest shot of his career.

Despite the loss, Tech (31-7) finished the season with more wins than any team in program history to go with its first Big 12 championship (shared with Kansas State). The second half, they fell, and fell, and fell as he kept delivering lethal jabs into the Red Raiders' mid-section.

Beard's nomadic résumé and folksy anecdote for every occasion had won over the fan base, as had a Tech lineup with varied backgrounds and no blue-chip talents. By Monday, seemingly the entire state was on board-as far from Lubbock as San Antonio, highway signs were adorned with "Go Tech" messages, while in the city itself, scooter companies removed their devices from the streets, fearful that jubilant fans might set them ablaze.

Those experiences from the moments they've lived through to get to this point are what allowed Virginia to combat lead changes, deficits and instances when games appeared all but lost.

Or credit Virginia, which has a reputation for suffocating Pack-Line defense almost as fearsome as Tech's.

UVa made 11 three-pointers and shot 46% from the field against one of the best defenses in the country.

The Cavaliers opened a 10 point lead in the first half, only to see the Red Raiders go on an 18-4 run. Tech's reserves eventually would outscore Virginia 29-6.

It just wouldn't be a Virginia win in the Final Four without some ensuing questions about the officiating.

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