Texas Tech moves to Fi­nal Four

Red Raiders’ de­fense sti­fles top-seeded Gon­zaga

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports -

Texas Tech is head­ing to its first Fi­nal Four thanks to a kid from Italy who made the big shots and a de­fense that re­fuses to rest.

Da­vide Moretti opened up a late lead with the two most im­por­tant 3-point­ers of his life, Tariq Owens came up with a big re­jec­tion and the Red Raiders caught a ride straight to Min­neapo­lis with a 75-69 vic­tory over top-seeded Gon­zaga on Satur­day in Ana­heim, Calif.

Moretti also made all four of his free throws down the stretch to wind up with 10 of his 12 points over the fi­nal 1:50.

The first of them —a spot-up 3-pointer from the side of the arc— gave third-seeded Texas Tech (30-6) a six-point lead, its big­gest of the night, with 1:50.

Six might not seem like much. But then again, not ev­ery de­fense is like the one coach Chris Beard draws up, and de­mands, out of the trans­fers and se­cond-choice play­ers he started bring­ing to Lub­bock when he ar­rived three sea­sons ago. No­body’s over­look­ing them now. With Texas Tech lead­ing 68-62 and less than a minute re­main­ing, Owens swooped over to the side­line to re­ject Gon­zaga’s NBA-bound star, Rui Hachimura, and put an ex­cla­ma­tion point of sorts on a cel­e­bra­tion that was just get­ting warmed up.

Gon­zaga (33-4), which spent a good chunk of the sea­son atop the AP Top 25, pulled within 71-69 on Zach Norvell Jr.’s put­back with 11 sec­onds left. But Josh Perkins reached over the end line and swat­ted the ball out of Matt Mooney’s hand as he was in­bound­ing for a tech­ni­cal.

Moretti did the hon­ors — sink­ing the tech­ni­cal free throws, then two more af­ter Gon­zaga fouled in des­per­a­tion.

Jarrett Cul­ver led the Red Raiders with 19 points, and Mooney, a trans­fer from South Dakota State, had 17.

But, as usual, the big­gest stats came on de­fense. Texas Tech held the Bull­dogs’ na­tion-lead­ing of­fense to 42 per­cent shoot­ing and forced it into 16 turnovers — nearly six more than their sea­son av­er­age.

Fresh­man for­ward Cam Red­dish will be a game-time de­ci­sion for Duke’s Elite Eight NCAA Tour­na­ment game Sun­day against Michi­gan State be­cause of a knee in­jury.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski up­dated Red­dish’s sta­tus Satur­day be­fore the Blue Devils’ prac­tice, say­ing there was no struc­tural dam­age. Red­dish was a late scratch for the Sweet 16 vic­tory against Vir­ginia Tech.

Red­dish said his left knee has been both­er­ing him for some time and that he tweaked it be­fore the game. Red­dish said he con­sid­ers him­self hour to hour as he gets treat­ment for the in­jury.

Top-seeded Duke beat Vir­ginia Tech with­out Red­dish thanks in large part to Alex O’Con­nell fill­ing his spot. Red­dish is Duke’s third-lead­ing scorer be­hind stars RJ Bar­rett and Zion Wil­liamson, av­er­ag­ing 13.6 points this sea­son.

Duke’s Red­dish ques­tion­able:

Fred Hoiberg, the for­mer NBA player who coached Iowa State and the Bulls, was hired Satur­day to coach a Ne­braska team that had big hopes this sea­son but fin­ished with a 19-17 record. Hoiberg, dis­missed by the Bulls in in De­cem­ber, agreed to a seven-year con­tract pay­ing a to­tal of $25 mil­lion. Hoiberg, 46, was born in Lin­coln and grand­fa­ther Jerry Bush was the Corn­huskers coach from 1954 to 1963 . ... Kansas G Char­lie Moore has de­cided to trans­fer af­ter an un­event­ful sea­son with the Jay­hawks. Moore be­gan his ca­reer at Cal­i­for­nia. Jay­hawks coach Bill Self said Moore, who is from Chicago, in­di­cated he wanted to trans­fer closer to his fam­ily.

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