Texas Tech Tops MSU to Head to The National Title With Credit Given to God and Toughness

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Texas Tech’s dream season stays alive as they ride stout defense and a 14-4 second-half run that kept it kept it just out of reach from Michigan State before pulling away down the stretch with a 61-51 win. Matt Mooney led the way for the Red Raiders with 22 points, leading all scorers in the game, something Mooney credited to scripture he has seen all week.

“All week I’ve seen this verse, scripture verse, Joshua 1:9 coming up all the time. It’s “Have I not commanded you to be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I felt that verse tonight. I felt He was out there playing with us on the floor. The basket just got big, and my teammates found me.” said Mooney.

Here’s how it all went down at US Bank Stadium in the National Semi-Final between the Red Raiders and the Spartans!

Texas Tech won the tip. However, it was Sparty getting on the board first with a triple from Matt McQuaid. That was immediately answered with a Red Raider triple at the other end from Tariq Owens.

Things remained tight early with it all knotted up at six with 17:19 left in the half. Owens then would slam home a dunk to put the Red Raiders up 8-6. Then a layup, and one, and a triple, all coming from McQuaid put Sparty up four with 13:21 left on the clock.

Tech would answer with a triple from Kyler Edwards. However, Sparty kept the pressure on, taking a five-point lead with 10:37 left. This one wasn’t getting out of hand by any means, as Tech’s Matt Mooney drained a triple and then hit a turn around jumper to tie this one at 16.

Then with 8:42 left in the half, Brandone Francis drained a triple to add to what had become an 8-1 run for the Red Raiders as they took a 19-16 lead. A layup from Cassius Winston trimmed the deficit to one. However, it would be the Spartans last basket over the next 6:37.

In that time, Tech had their own struggles from the field, only able to push their lead to five with 2:08 left to play as Mooney put in another pullup jumper. Sparty would finally get back on the board with 1:03 left to play as Winston drained a triple.

At the half, Tech had the 23-21 lead, with their leading scorer being Mooney with nine. For Michigan State, it was Winston and McQuaid leading the way with nine points each.

To start the second half, MSU wasted no time, as Aaron Henry corralled an airball from Kenny Goins and immediately put it back in to tie it up at 23. At the other end, the Red Raiders answered, doubling down with a triple from David Morreti, who then followed that with a layup to push the tech lead to 5.

Then after some back and forth, the Red Raiders started to creep away from Sparty slowly. After a bucket from MSU’s Nick Ward cut the deficit to three with 14:04 to play, Texas Tech went on a 10-2 run to take a 45-33 lead, with back-to-back triples from Mooney tailing off that run.

After a layup from Xavier Tillman put a stop to that run, Mooney again struck from deep to make it 48-35 Tech with 9:40 left to play. The fight wasn’t gone yet from Sparty though as they clawed their way back into this one, as Winston drained a trip to cut it back to 10. This was the start of chipping away of the lead as the two teams traded shots.

With 7:30 left to play, Texas Tech saw their lead at just 7. Then after a bucket from Mooney to make it 52-43 Tech, the drought started, and the tide turned. Michigan State went on a 9-0 run over the next 5:01 as they cut it to just a 1 point game.

The run was ended on a Jarrett Culver jumper to with 2:29 left to play, the start of a solo 6-0 run for Culver to put Tech up seven as he drilled a triple with just 58 seconds left to play. Down at the other end, Goins missed a triple as the Spartans vyed to come back.

After Norense Odiase hauled in the rebound, he was immediately fouled and went to the line for two, of which, both he drained. This made it 60-51 with just 39 seconds left to play.

Then a missed jumper from Winston would pretty much wrap things up, other than Culver getting back to the line and hitting one of two to make it a 10 point lead for Tech with 27 seconds left. Winston would try another triple that wouldn’t go, and that was all she wrote, as the Red Raiders punched their ticket to the National Title game.

Texas Tech held Michigan State to their lowest scoring total of the season with only 51, something MSU head coach Tom Izzo was quick to credit the Red Raiders as an attribute to their toughness.

“First of all, I want to give a lot of credit to Texas Tech. On our National Championship rings, there’s a PPTPW — Players Play, Tough Players Win. Very seldom in my career have we kind of got out beat up, and tonight was one of those nights.” said Izzo.

Tech head coach Chris Beard prided himself in prepping his team for this, something he said he talked with them about almost immediately after finding out they would be laying Sparty in the Final Four.

“The very first thing I told the guys on — would have been Sunday night, maybe, right when we knew that Michigan State was the team we were playing, we had a little team meeting, and I said, Guys, look, the objective is not to out-tough Michigan State.” said Beard, “That’s not going to happen. We’re going to try to equal their toughness. We’re going to try to compete in this game against Michigan State, one of the toughest teams in college basketball.”

That toughness will need to correlate over to Monday night if they want the dream to continue. They will be going up against the most offensively efficient team in the country, as well as a team that doesn’t foul a lot and makes minimal mental mistakes.

Monday night a champion will be crowned, be it Virginia or Texas Tech, one school will take home their first ever National Title in men’s basketball. Tipoff is set for 9:20 pm EST.

Share This Story:

Related Content