Texas Tech Ticket Punched To First Ever Final Four With Upset of Gonzaga

Written by Matt Whyte

Anaheim, CA- The Gonzaga Bulldogs faced off against Texas Tech in this year’s edition of the Elite Eight West Regional round Saturday evening.  The Red Raiders showed the Bulldogs why they are the number one team when it comes to defense in all of NCAA Basketball as they were able to pull off the upset toppling the West Regions top seeded Zags 75-69.

With the tip-off being won by the Bulldogs, they were not able to capitalize on the position and quickly Texas Tech put the first points up in the game. Early on in the game Norenes Odiase for the Red Raiders had already racked up two personal fouls.

At the first time out the teams were neck and neck at eight. The Red Raiders had already accrued four team fouls with over fifteen minutes still to go in the first half. As for the Bulldogs, they were playing some amazing defense making it very hard for the Raiders to get into the paint.

This matchup became a battle of the threes in the first half. Staying at an extremely close battle with only 6:40 left to go in the half with Texas Tech leading 29-27.  With only 1:28 to go Matt Mooney for Tech tied the game up at 35.

As the half came to an end, the top scorer on Gonzaga was Rui Hachimura with 13 points. For Texas Tech it was Mooney with 11. The Bulldogs finish the half off with a 37-35 lead. The biggest issue the Bulldogs had in the first half was keeping control of the ball, with nine turnovers by the end of the first half.  These turnovers would eventually come to haunt the Zags.

The Red Raiders started the second half with a more cautious approach, taking their time to line up some nice shots. Gonzaga is still playing a strong defensive game.  Not strong enough to stop Tariq Owens from slamming down a huge dunk with 16:45 to go. The Bulldogs were fighting to keep their lead against the Red Raiders with 11:35 to go.  Owens was able to regain the lead for the Red Raiders with only 10:30 to go.

Both teams continued to go back and forth with some amazing defense and comparable offense. The final turning point came with only 1:34 to go was when Owens rejected a crucial 3 pointer of the Zags which would have changed the events of the final minutes and was able to save the ball and get it back in play to one of his own teammates.

As Tech looked to inbound with only seconds remaining and a 2 point lead, Josh Perkins reached across the baseline and touched the ball and Mooney’s arm, resulting in a technical foul. Davide Moretti drained both free throws and they got the ball back and the Zags fouled again in desperation. This sent Jarrett Culver to the line for Texas Tech, and he sank them both to make it 75-69, which would be the final.

This marks the first Final Four trip in school history for the Red Raiders, in a year that had their head coach Chris Beard was named the Big 12 Coach of the year, and sophomore shooting guard Jarrett Culver was named Big 12 Player of the Year! Culver finished Saturdays game with team-high 19 points

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