The University of Virginia won its first NCAA men’s basketball title in school history tonight, beating Texas Tech, 85-77, in the tournament final. It was the first OT in the championship game since 2008.
Guard scoring paced the Cavaliers’ win as De’Andre Hunter’s 27 points led all scorers, followed Kyle Guy with 24. Brandone Francis paced the Red Raiders with 17 points.
It was the first men’s hoops title game for either school.
For UVa, it was a sweet tournament comeback after the team had gone into the 2018 bracket as a No. 1 seed but was routed by the 16th-seeded University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in the opening round. That 74-54 beatdown was the first 16-over-1 victory in tournament history.
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Coach Tony Bennet’s Virginia (35-3) held a three-point advantage at halftime and ended up leading by as much as 10 points. But the Red Raiders tied the game on a three-point play by Norense Odiase with 3:28 left. Texas Tech grabbed its first lead of the second half when Big Ten player of the year Jarrett Culver drove for a layup with 35.1 seconds left.
Coach Chris Beard’s Texas Tech had a chance to win it in regulation, but Braxton Key blocked Culver’s jumper from the corner as the buzzer sounded. But the Cavs outscored the Red Raiders 17-9 in the five-minute OT, including a late 11-0 run.
Texas Tech (31-7) came into the game as the hottest team in college basketball, winning 14 of its past 15 games and also beating No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 2 Michigan in the tournament. But the loss means the school still has won just a single NCAA championship in any sport; its women’s basketball team took the 1993 crown.
Students poured into the streets of Charlottesville to celebrate, with authorities keeping a close watch. Officials also were keeping an eye on Lubbock, Texas, where police used tear gas to break up rioting after Texas Tech’s semifinal win Saturday.
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