Virginia beats Texas Tech, 85-77, wins school’s first men’s national basketball title

Author: CBS News
The Virginia Cavaliers celebrate with the trophy after their 85-77 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the 2019 NCAA men’s Final Four National Championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium on April 8, 2019, in Minneapolis GETTY
A season after becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament — the one thing that had never happened in a tournament where anything can — the Cavaliers watched a 10-point lead turn into a 3-point deficit before Hunter came to the rescue. The sophomore made the game-tying 3 point shot with 12 seconds left in regulation, then made another with just over two minutes left in the extra period to give the Cavs the lead for good.

“Surreal,” Hunter called it. “It’s a goal we started out with at the beginning of the season. We knew we were going to bounce back from last year. We achieved our dreams.”

He helped the Cavs bring home the first NCAA title for a program with a colorful, star-crossed and, now, very winning history. The title tilt involved two teams that had never played in a championship game.

The NCAA marked Virginia’s remarkable climb from historic upset to top of the men’s college basketball world:

All of Virginia’s 34 wins leading to this year’s final and each of its mere three losses were punctuated by the reminder that only the end result would serve as the ultimate report card on whether the Cavs could truly shed the baggage of last year.

And what a ride this year’s tournament was.

A 1 seed once again, they fell behind by 14 early to 16th-seeded Gardner-Webb in this year’s opening round, and a nightmare seemed to be unfolding. But this time, they overcame it. Then, they beat Purdue in the Elite Eight when the game looked lost, and did the same against Auburn on Saturday — getting bailed out by a foul call and Kyle Guy’s three free throws with 0.6 seconds left.

“I told them, I just want a chance at a title fight one day,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “That’s all I want. … You’re never alone in the hills and the valleys we faced in the last year.”

Even the Empire State Building chimed in, lighting its top in the new champs’ colors:

Empire State Building lights up in colors of new NCAA men’s basketball champion University of Virginia on night of April 8, 2019 CBS NEWS

As for the Red Raiders (31-7) — the team full of overlooked grinders refused to quit.

They fell behind by 10 twice in this game – seemingly too much in a match-up between two legendary defenses that allowed way more than the projected total of 118 points – but just kept coming back.

“In terms of my guys, I’ve never been more proud,” Red Raiders coach Chris Beard said. “This is real life. We’ll bounce back.”

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