Historic Loss, Then Redemption: UVA Is National Champion

Cavaliers beat Texas Tech in overtime
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 9, 2019 4:03 AM CDT
Historic Loss, Then Redemption: UVA Is National Champion
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, center, celebrates with guard Ty Jerome, left, after the championship game against Texas Tech.   (AP Photo/Matt York)

Last year, the University of Virginia became the only top seed to fall to a No. 16 in the history of the NCAA Tournament. This year, redemption. Virginia won the first men's basketball championship in school history Monday night, getting a career-high 27 points from De'Andre Hunter and clutch play from Kyle Guy to beat Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime, per the AP. Hunter drained a 3-pointer with 12.9 seconds left to force the first overtime since 2008. The big forward continued to make plays in the extra session, including another 3 during an 11-0 run that put the game away. Guy was named the Final Four's outstanding player. This win is "the ultimate example of popping back up after getting knocked down," writes Matt Norlander of CBS News. "This story has no parallel in the history of American sports."

Virginia's nail-biting trip through the tournament will go down in history as one of the most clutch performances from game-to-game by any championship team. Monday's overtime victory made them just the sixth title team to win multiple-OT games in a tournament, and the first since Arizona accomplished the feat in 1997. They outscored their opponents by a scant 45 points, the third-lowest margin of victory by a championship team since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The only comfortable game was their opening win over No. 16 seed Gardner-Webb, and that came after falling into an early hole. Virginia beat Oklahoma 63-51 in the second round, edged Oregon 53-49 in the regional semifinals and needed a last-second floater to force OT in a win over Purdue.

(More March Madness stories.)

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