Virginia pulls away in OT to win first na­tional title

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - By Jeff Reynolds

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — Virginia went to over­time to put away Texas Tech 85-77 and win the col­lege bas­ket­ball na­tional cham­pi­onship Mon­day night at U.S. Bank Sta­dium.

De’An­dre Hunter scored 27 points, Kyle Guy added 24 and Ty Jerome fin­ished with 16 for the Cava­liers, who won their first bas­ket­ball title one year af­ter be­ing elim­i­nated in the first round of the NCAA Tour­na­ment by 16th-seeded UMBC.

Virginia claimed a 77-73 lead with two free throws from Jerome, and Texas Tech’s Bran­done Fran­cis missed a cor­ner 3-pointer with 33 sec­onds left in over­time. Guy was fouled and sent to the line, where he padded the ad­van­tage to 79-73.

Virginia went 12 of 12 from the free-throw line in over­time.

Hunter had ear­lier drained a cor­ner 3-pointer as Virginia re­claimed the lead, 75-73, with 2:09 left in over­time. Guy pre­vi­ously made a pair of free throws for the Cava­liers to keep it a one-posses­sion game.

Matt Mooney, who hit a 3-pointer on Texas Tech’s pre­vi­ous trip, fought into the lane but was trapped be­fore fad­ing to his right for a jumper that kissed vir­tu­ally every part of the iron and dropped home for a 73-70 Texas Tech lead. Virginia then went on an 11-0 run.

Guy was se­lected the NCAA Tour­na­ment’s Most Out­stand­ing Player. The Fi­nal Four all-tour­na­ment team was Guy, Hunter, Jerome, Mooney and Texas Tech’s Jar­rett Cul­ver.

Nei­ther team dropped the gloves for the fi­nal 10 minutes of reg­u­la­tion or over­time.

With 14 sec­onds left, Hunter made a 3-pointer — from nearly the same spot on the floor as the OT bucket — on a feed from Jerome, who had eight as­sists.

Cul­ver gave Texas Tech a 66-65 lead with 35.1 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion.

He at­tacked the mid­dle of the lane and spun to his left, dou­ble clutch­ing be­fore putting the ball off the glass with his left hand over Hunter, the ACC De­fen­sive Player of the Year.

Jerome missed a runner off the left side of the rim at the other end, send­ing Norense Odi­ase to the line af­ter he was fouled col­lect­ing the Jerome miss. Odi­ase made both foul shots.

Hunter stuck a jumper over Cul­ver for a 63-61 lead. Cul­ver’s an­swer fell short and Guy con­nected on a layup, but Virginia’s four-point lead went to one with sopho­more Da­vide Moretti’s third 3-pointer at the 1:31 mark.

Odi­ase con­verted an and one, ty­ing the game at 59 with 3:28 re­main­ing to cap an 8-0 run. Virginia led by as many as 10 in the sec­ond half with Hunter and Jerome car­ry­ing the of­fense, but the Red Raiders’ bench, sparked by Fran­cis, helped Texas Tech stay afloat.

Mooney looked for his shot and con­nected with a long 3-pointer to pull Texas Tech within 59-56 with four minutes left.

Be­fore bag­ging a step­back, 16-foot fade­away of his own, Jerome zipped a righthanded pass from the block to Guy in the left cor­ner for an in-rhythm 3-pointer to push Virginia ahead 53-43 at the 10-minute mark.

With Texas Tech’s pri­mary op­tions in a funk, Fran­cis was a one-man gang for crit­i­cal stretches and Cul­ver heated up in the sec­ond half. Fran­cis fin­ished with a team-high 17. Cul­ver, who missed eight shots be­fore one went down, and Da­vide Moretti had 15 apiece.

Hunter hit back-to-back 3-point­ers, nudg­ing Virginia’s lead to 50-41 just as Texas Tech missed for the first time in five trips.

Virginia (35-3) led 32-29 at half­time. Jerome nailed a 20-footer from the top of the key to cap a tug-of-war first half dur­ing which the teams com­bined for 10 3-point­ers, five ties and four lead changes.

The Red Raiders (31-7) were able to hang around thanks to 13 points off the bench and 7 of 13 shoot­ing to end the half.

Getty Im­ages

Virginia’s Kyle Guy cel­e­brates the Cava­liers’ 85-77 win over Texas Tech for the NCAA cham­pi­onship.

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