Virginia takes title

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It was certain whichever team won between Virginia and Texas Tech in last Monday’s NCAA men’s college basketball title match at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, it would be the first time in school history.

Slow in the beginning, the Cavaliers led 32-29 at the half only to see the Red Raiders outscore Virginia by three in the second half, which forced overtime, the eighth since the tournament began in 1939 and first since 2008.

It was during these five minutes that the Cavaliers proved too good as they prevailed 85-77.


Virginia became the first team to lead the nation in fewest points allowed and win the title since UC Berkeley in 1959.

In the extra session, No. 1 Virginia (27 of 59 for 45.8 percent) made a three-pointer, a hoop and all 12 free throws (20 of 23 for 87 percent).

“I don’t know if all these guys will remember this, but when they come in my office I got a poster of Rocky on the steps, and I told them, I just want a chance at a title fight one day,” said Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett, whose team became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 in the opening round last year. “That’s all we want. These guys came to fight in this title game and now we’re the champs.”

Virginia, which beat Auburn 63-62 in one national semifinal two days earlier on a non-call against the Cavaliers of a double dribble and then a foul on the game’s final shot, which saw junior point guard Kyle Guy drain three shots, became the first team to lead the nation in fewest points allowed and win the title since UC Berkeley in 1959.

Virginia sophomore shooting guard De’Andre Hunter led all scorers with 27 points, including 22 in the second half and overtime.

It was Hunter’s three-pointer that forced overtime at 68-68 and came after a hoop from sophomore shooting guard Jarrett Culver (15 points with a team-high nine boards and a team-best five assists) gave No. 3 Texas Tech (31-7), which handled Michigan State 61-51 in the other semifinal, a 66-65 lead with 35.1 seconds on the clock.

The Cavaliers led 42-35 with 14:15 left as Guy, voted the Most Outstanding Player, scored 15 of his 24 points.

With 11:24 showing, Virginia (35-3) slipped in front 50-41 when Hunter (nine rebounds) knocked down a trey just moments earlier.

Virginia led 59-56, but senior center Norense Odiase (five points with six caroms) scored and was fouled and hit the free throw that knotted it at 59-59 with 3:28 remaining.

Sophomore point guard Davide Moretti (15 points) canned a three for Texas Tech (27 of 63 for 42.9 percent and 13 of 15 on free throws for 86.7 percent) that cut Virginia’s lead to 65-64 with 1:31 on the ticker.

Senior shooting guard Brandone Francis paced Texas Tech with 17 points and four rebounds.

It was certain whichever team won between Virginia and Texas Tech in last Monday’s NCAA men’s college basketball title match at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, it would be the first time in school history.

Slow in the beginning, the Cavaliers led 32-29 at the half only to see the Red Raiders outscore Virginia by three in the second half, which forced overtime, the eighth since the tournament began in 1939 and first since 2008.

It was during these five minutes that the Cavaliers proved too good as they prevailed 85-77.

Virginia became the first team to lead the nation in fewest points allowed and win the title since UC Berkeley in 1959.

In the extra session, No. 1 Virginia (27 of 59 for 45.8 percent) hit one three-pointer and all 14 free throws (20 of 23 for 87 percent).

“I don’t know if all these guys will remember this, but when they come in my office I got a poster of Rocky on the steps, and I told them, I just want a chance at a title fight one day,’’ said Virginia Head Coach Tony Bennett, whose team became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 in the opening round last year. “That’s all we want. These guys came to fight in this title game and now we’re the champs.’’

Virginia, which beat Auburn 63-62 in one national semifinal two days earlier on a non-call against the Cavaliers of a double dribble and then a foul on the game’s final shot, which saw junior point guard Kyle Guy drain three shots, became the first team to lead the nation in fewest points allowed and win the title since UC Berkeley in 1959.

Virginia sophomore shooting guard De’Andre Hunter led all scorers with 27 points, including 22 in the second half and overtime.

It was Hunter’s three-pointer that forced overtime at 68-68 and came after a hoop from sophomore shooting guard Jarrett Culver (15 points with a team-high nine boards and a team-best five assists) gave No. 3 Texas Tech (31-7), which handled Michigan State 61-51 in the other semifinal, a 66-65 lead with 35.1 seconds on the clock.

The Cavaliers led 42-35 with 14:15 left as Guy, voted the Most Outstanding Player, scored 15 of his 24 points.

With 11:24 showing, Virginia (35-3) slipped in front 50-41 when Hunter (nine rebounds) knocked down a trey just moments earlier.

Virginia led 59-56, but senior center Norense Odiase (five points with six caroms) scored and was fouled and hit the free throw that knotted it at 59-59 with 3:28 remaining.

Sophomore point guard Davide Moretti (15 points) canned a three for Texas Tech (27 of 63 for 42.9 percent and 13 of 15 on free throws for 86.7 percent) that cut Virginia’s lead to 65-64 with 1:31 on the ticker.

Senior shooting guard Brandone Francis paced Texas Tech with 17 points and four rebounds.

Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at yankeespride55@gmail.com.

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The Sports Department Rick Assad has written about sports for the Pasadena Star-News and Los Angeles Times. Contact him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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