The redemption story is complete. In one of the best games of the season, the Virginia Cavaliers claimed their first ever men’s basketball National Championship with an 85-77 overtime victory over Texas Tech.
De’Andre Hunter was outstanding with 27 points — including the game-tying shot that sent the game to overtime — and Kyle Guy added 24 as the Cavaliers withstood several runs from the Red Raiders to come out on top.
Virginia shot 46% from the field and 46% from three in the win, and got a huge performance from Braxton Key (six points, 10 rebounds).
Texas Tech won the opening tip, putting the Hoos defense to the test right out of the gate. Outstanding defense led to a miss from Culver late in the shot clock, giving Virginia a chance to take a lead. Hunter had an incredible drive and look at the rim, but the layup rimmed out to keep things scoreless. Another late shot from the Red Raiders hit harmlessly off the backboard as Clark pulled in his first rebound.
Jerome found Diakite for a floater that gave the Hoos a 2-0 lead, but Hunter couldn’t build on it as a jumper missed off the rim after another strong stand from the Cavaliers. Culver put Texas Tech on the board and tied the game at two with two free throws with 17:21 to play in the first half.
Another miss from the Hoos — this one from Clark — gave TTU a chance to take its first lead of the game, but the Virginia defense was outstanding once more as Mooney’s three was off-mark. Jerome had a good look at a three on the other end, but it hit off the back of the rim and Culver was able to draw another foul on the other end. He made one of the two, giving the Red Raiders a 3-2 lead with nearly four minutes gone in the first half. A broken play ended with a turnover by the Cavaliers — their first — and Texas Tech would have a chance to build on its slight lead.
Culver failed to get Texas Tech its first field goal, but Diakite was called for an offensive foul on a drive in the lane. The Red Raiders rebounded their own miss, but Guy stole the ball from Mooney and connected on a jumper on the other end to put Virginia back on top 4-3 with 14:36 to play. Owens missed a shot, and an offensive rebound kept the play alive for the Hoos. Jerome made the most of it with a three from the corner, pushing the lead to 7-3.
An ill-advised alley-oop attempt by TTU gave Virginia the ball back, and Key would emphatically slam the ball home for easy points and a six point lead with 12:56 to play. Moretti connected on a three for Texas Tech’s first field goal of the game with 12:40 left on the clock, halving Virginia’s advantage.
A three from Guy made it 12-6, and once again Culver struggled to get his shot to fall. Hunter’s jumper went off the rim, but Moretti was whistled for a foul that would send Hunter to the line. He made one of two, giving the Hoos a seven point advantage with 11:24 remaining in the first half.
Moretti attempted a fadeaway two with Hunter’s hand in his face, but caromed off the rim and Key was able to corral the rebound. A high-arcing floater from Diakite pushed the lead to 15-6, but a foul on Guy sent Tariq Owens to the line where he made one to cut Virginia’s advantage to eight. Hunter battled two straight blocks from the Red Raider defense, but got his own rebound both times and drew a foul on the third attempt. His free throws rang through easily, giving the Hoos a 10-point lead partway through the first half.
Brandone Francis connected from three for TTU’s second field goal, and Kyler Edwards followed with one of his own to quickly cut the lead to four. Guy’s three-point attempt would miss, but a Diakite tip-out gave Virginia another chance and Jerome got a runner to go off the glass to make it 19-13.
Francis remarkably got another three to fall, cutting Virginia’s advantage to 19-16 with Texas Tech still without a two-point bucket. Another three, this one from Moretti, tied the game at 19 as Texas Tech rattled off a 12-2 run. Guy somehow got inside the defense and got a two off the glass to put the Cavaliers back in front, but Owens evened things up at 21 with a dunk.
Huff and Jerome missed on three attempts, but Culver’s shot from outside wouldn’t fall to give the Hoos another chance to re-take the lead. Guy’s jumper in the lane clanged off front iron, and Edwards drew a foul on Huff after driving past Guy on the baseline. Edwards made both, putting Texas Tech back on top 23-21 with 5:22 left in the first half. A travel on Guy gave the Red Raiders possession, and Mooney pushed lead to four with a jumper over Clark.
Clark canned a huge three fro the corner off of a nice pass from Jerome to cut the deficit to one, and Salt drew a foul on Norense Odiase to end the Red Raider possession. Hunter’s jumper wouldn’t fall, but Odiase stepped on the baseline after the rebound, giving the ball back to Virginia. Salt’s attempt was halted under the basket, and Francis pushed the lead to three with a long two.
A corner three from Guy tied things up for the fourth time with just under three minutes to play. Moretti put TTU back on top with two free throws, giving the Red Raiders a 29-27 advantage. Both teams missed on their next possessions, giving Virginia a chance to tie or take the lead with under two minutes left in the half. Hunter answered the call, staying aggressive and driving the lane for a bucket to knot things up once again.
Key met Culver at the rim, but couldn’t convert the layup on the other end after it appeared he stumbled going to the basket. Owens’s long jumper missed, giving Virginia a chance to hold for the final possession of the half with things tied up. Outstanding ball movement by Hunter found Jerome for a look from three with two seconds left on the clock, and he canned it to put Virginia up 32-29 at the break.
Virginia went 12-for-29 (41%) from the field and 5-for-11 (45%) from three in the first half, and held Texas Tech to 33% and 42%, respectively. Guy led the Hoos with 10 points, followed by Jerome with eight. Virginia was outstanding on the boards, getting six offensive rebounds that led to seven second chance points.
Francis and Moretti each had eight points for Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders only had three two-point buckets in the first half.
The Hoos got started right out of the gate in the second half as Clark found Guy for a long two and a five point lead. Owens, facing a double team from Diakite and Hunter, sailed a pass well over Mooney’s head, giving the ball right back to the Hoos. On the next possession, Hunter was fouled going to the rim. He made both, pushing Virginia’s lead to seven with just 54 seconds gone in the second half.
A Francis three missed everything and landed in the outstretched arms of Hunter, and Guy drew another foul. Diakite missed a three, but Culver returned the favor to give Virginia a chance to push its lead even further. Great vision from Hunter found Diakite under the basket where he drew a foul. He made one, quickly give Virginia a 38-29 lead with just under 18 minutes remaining.
Francis took the ball in the lane and got a shot over Diakite to go, cutting the deficit back to seven. A jump ball gave TTU possession, but the Red Raiders were unable to convert and turned the ball over out of bounds. Clark found Hunter with a bounce pass, and the latter kissed one off the glass to make it 40-31 with 16:33 remaining.
Key couldn’t get a three to fall, and Culver got his first field goal of the game to cut into the lead slightly. Guy pushed Virginia’s advantage back to nine with a jumper, but Culver answered with another layup to make it 42-35. A turnover on the end line from Clark gave the ball back to Texas Tech and Edwards got the friendliest of bounces to get a three to fall to make it a four-point game with 13:56 to play.
Hunter would answer with a three of his own, but Francis connected on his third three of the game to make it 45-41 before a Jerome floater pushed Virginia’s advantage to six. Culver would attempt a three, but Key had outstanding rebounding positioning and grabbed the ricochet.
Another three from Hunter gave Virginia a nine-point advantage with 11:42 to play, thanks to a Jerome’s fifth assist of the game. Culver got a tough shot to fall over Key, and Hunter would draw a foul on Deshawn Corprew off-ball. Key flew out of nowhere for an offensive rebound, and, though he couldn’t get the put back to go, forced a jump ball that gave Virginia possession.
Guy’s fourth three of the game put the Hoos up by 10 with 10:24 to play, and the 6-3 guard would tap the rebound of an Edwards missed three back to his teammates. A live-ball turnover by Hunter led to a transition bucket from Moretti, cutting Virginia’s lead back to single digits. Moretti would get another after a Jerome miss, making it 53-47 in a matter of 41 seconds.
Jerome somehow got a two to fall as the buzzer sounded for the shot clock to make it 55-47, and Key drew a charge on Culver that gave the ball back to the Hoos with just over eight minutes to play. Guy’s attempt at the shot clock wouldn’t fall, giving TTU a chance to cut into the eight-point Virginia lead.
Francis would used a baseline drive and a floater over Diakite to make it 55-49 as the clock ticked through seven minutes to play, but Jerome answered with a pull up shot to make it eight points once more.
Culver got his own rebound and put back for two, but Hunter would somehow pull in a rebound off of a Hunter miss. Hunter was fouled on the put-back as Owens picked up his fifth foul of the game. He would miss the free throw, keeping Virginia’s advantage at eight with 5:46 remaining.
Edwards’s two-pointer made it a six-point game, and the Hoos would turn it over. Moretti was unable to hit the open three, and Key pulled in the rebound to end the possession for the Red Raiders. Diakite’s floater hit off the rim, and Mooney countered with a three to pull Texas Tech within three at 59-56 with just over four minutes to play.
Jerome’s three missed, and Texas Tech would have a chance to tie the game at the line after Diakite was whistled for a foul on the made bucket by Odiase with 3:28 left on the season. He connect on the free throw, tying the game at 59 with 3:28 remaining.
Guy missed a three, but Diakite came up with a huge rebound under the bucket and drew a foul from Francis to go to the line. He made both, giving Virginia a slight 61-59 advantage. Culver went to the line after drawing a foul on Guy and made both to tie things up for the sixth time and with 2:38 left on the clock.
Hunter called his own number for a huge pull up jumper to put Virginia back on top, and Culver’s three caromed off the rim. Jerome pulled in the rebound, giving the Hoos a chance to build the lead even further as the seconds ticked off. Guy got a circus shot to go off the glass, but a huge three from Moretti cut the lead to one with 1:31 to play.
A block by Odiase led to a loose-ball scramble, and Texas Tech was awarded possession down one with 1:08 remaining. The referees went to the monitor, confirming the Red Raider possession. Francis’s shot went off the rim, but the refs called a held ball after Guy withstood a ton of contact going for the rebound. Culver would put the Red Raiders up by one with an acrobatic spin with 35.1 seconds left.
Jerome’s attempt went off the rim, and the Hoos had to foul Odiase with 22.5 seconds left. He made the front end of the 1-and-1, then connected on the second to put the Red Raiders up 68-65. After driving the lane, Jerome found Hunter for a huge three, and he delivered in the moment to tie the game at 68.
Culver’s attempt hit off the rim, but Virginia couldn’t grab the ball and the Red Raiders got the ball back with one second on the clock. Key would get the block on Culver’s attempt at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime tied at 68.
Diakite won the tip to open the extra period, and Hunter hit two free throws to put Virginia up 70-68. A huge three from Mooney gave the lead right back to Texas Tech, and Jerome couldn’t get his floater to go. Culver’s long two wouldn’t fall, and Diakite grabbed a huge rebound, but Hunter turned it over on the other end. Mooney somehow got a tough bucket to fall among three Virginia players, but Guy would cut the deficit to one with two free throws with 2:45 to play.
Moretti missed off the front iron, giving the Hoos a chance to take the lead as the clock approached two minutes to play, and Hunter put the Cavaliers up 75-73 with an enormous three ball. Diakite swatted Culver’s layup attempt out of bounds, and Mooney couldn’t get a deep three to fall as it careened off the backboard.
Jerome’s floater came off the rim, and it looked like Diakite had tipped it to safety. Moretti narrowly beat Guy in a foot race, getting possession for the Red Raiders with 1:06 left on the clock. Hunter tapped the ball free, and the refs called it TTU ball before going to the monitors and overturning the call. Jerome was fouled going to the bucket, narrowly missing the score, but getting two points at the line to put Virginia up four with 41 seconds to play.
Francis’s shot wouldn’t fall, and Key came up with a huge rebound and dished the ball to Guy, who was fouled with 31 seconds left. Guy made both to put Virginia up 79-73, and Diakite would pull in the rebound off Culver’s miss with 23.5 seconds left. Diakite hit two free throws to give Virginia an eight-point lead, and the Wahoo contingent of the crowd of 72,062 started to feel it.
Edwards would get a layup to go to cut the lead to six with 17 seconds left. Jerome found Key with a long outlet pass, and he’d slam it home to return the lead to eight. Another layup for TTU — this one from Francis — cut the lead back to six with eight seconds left, but Key would hit two free throws to seal the win.
Congratulations to the 2018-19 NCAA Men’s Basketball champs YOUR Virginia Cavaliers.