MINNEAPOLIS – Now that, Virginia, is the way to close a season.
Led by De & # 39; Andre Hunter and his NBA-ready game, the Cavaliers became national champions on Monday night, resisting the fierce and fierce Texas Tech for a 85-77 overtime win, a dazzling victory that It came 388 days after a crushing setback that could have sunk a minor team for years.
But Virginia was better than that.
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A season after becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose with a 16, the only thing that had never happened in a tournament where everything could be possible: the Cavaliers saw a 10-point lead in a 3-point deficit before of Hunter coming to the rescue. The sophomore made the tie of the game with 3 missing 12.1 seconds in regulation time, then made another with a little more than two minutes in the additional period to give the Cavs the definite advantage.
After running out of scoring for the first 18 and a half minutes, Hunter finished with 27 points, his career highest, and if he leaves as a lottery player, well, what a way out.
He helped the Cavs bring home the first NCAA title for a program with a colorful history, full of stars and now, very winning.
Nothing was easy, given that Virginia has been in the last year, with each of her 35 wins, and each of the team's three losses, all marked by the reminder that only the final result would serve as the final report on whether The Cavs had erased last year's baggage.
Hunter's key 3 gave Virginia a 75-73 lead, and after the teams exchanged their possessions, Tech guard Davide Moretti rushed after a loose ball headed to the end of Virginia's court. It looked like it would be the Texas Tech ball, but one replay showed that Moretti's little finger had barely touched the ball. Virginia took possession, and worked the ball on Ty Jerome, who received a foul and made two free throws.
Brandone Francis missed a 3 at the other end, and Virginia retired. The first time this game felt remotely comfortable, even after Kyle Guy, the free-throw hero of Saturday's victory at Auburn, made a 3 to give to the Cavs. an advantage of 10 points with 10:22 remaining in the regulation.
By the way, Guy is not the only free-throw shooter in Virginia. The Cavs went 12 for 12 from the line in overtime to freeze this game.