Virginia Cavaliers crowned 2019 NCAA champion

Virginia has finally done it.

The national championship game between Texas Tech and Virginia took place on Monday night, and though the players hustled, the real star of the night was a floppy tortilla that was thrown onto the court.

The bucket tied the game that the Cavaliers went on to win 85-77 in overtime, delivering a resounding response to last season's historic NCAA Tournament flameout.

Then with 14 seconds left, UVA's Deandre Hunter drained a clutch 3-pointer, tying the score and sending the game to overtime.

Hunter was outstanding all game. "But Kihei, his instincts, and Mamadi to not drop it, I'm still in awe of that", head coach Tony Bennett had said. But this time, they overcame it.

Hunter missed seven of eight shots from the floor in the first half, but he flipped those results the rest of the game, connecting on seven of his last eight shots.

It was a slow start for both teams offensively with just one field goal combined in the first 5:34.

However, guard Kyle Guy - the team's leading scorer - went on to score 6 points, giving the team a 1 point victory against Auburn.

Virginia is mostly going with the same starting five that has carried them to this point in the tournament on Monday night against Texas Tech. Virginia hit all 12 of its free throws in overtime. Francis had a pair of the 3-pointers for the Red Raiders. Their defenders were swarming, and the Cavaliers struggled on offense, punctuated by a Guy travel. But also like in the semifinal game, Hunter came out on fire in the second half.

Instead of just turning in cell phones on nights before game days, Texas Tech players would hand over the devices every night before bed during their road trips.

But Virginia was better than that. He dominated the early part of the second half, while Culver closed it out down the stretch. He sank all three free throws to send the Cavaliers to the title game.

Texas Tech has been shutting teams down all tournament long, holding four of their five opponents to less than 59 points. Matt Mooney drained one from the arc for 3, followed by another 3 by Davide Moretti.

Though both Hunter and Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver were 3 of 4 shooting from the free throw line in the first half, neither of the coveted National Basketball Association prospects was able to find his shooting touch early on.

There wasn't a ton of scoring from there, but Hunter's big shot stood up and the Cavaliers got a break as an out-of-bounds call went their way, allowing them to finish it off at the line, setting off a wild celebration.

The Cavaliers are going into the championship face-off as a one-point favorite, according to CBS Sports.

Culver got by Hunter to give the Red Raiders a 66-65 lead with 35 seconds left, their first lead of the half.

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. He made both, putting the Red Raiders up three. Dre' (Hunter) made (Culver) work to get shots.

Neither Tech's chip-on-the-shoulder mindset nor the disruptive defense that had frustrated teams in the Big 12 and the NCAA tournament were enough to stop Virginia in an instant classic Monday. After their 53-49 win over the Ducks, the Cavaliers needed overtime to see off Purdue 80-75 in the Elite Eight. I think it helped us as coaches.

"In terms of my guys, I've never been more proud", Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said.

A year ago, the Virginia men's basketball team was reeling after a loss to 16 seed UMBC.

"I'm a confident player and my teammates, they feed me a lot of confidence", Guy said, adding: "I'm going to shoot whether it's falling or not".

Then Virginia almost got knocked out of the tournament in the Elite 8 against Purdue on March 30, but a late comeback gave Virginia an overtime win.

"It's a great story", Bennett said.


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