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NCAA mens final is set Texas Tech shuts down Michigan State to set a Monday date with Virginia Th

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NCAA mens final is set Texas Tech shuts down Michigan State to set a Monday date with Virginia Th That cheerless flight will go toward East Lansing, Mich, after the 61 51 decision at U

S Bank Stadium, and it will carry yet another team befuddled to offensive disfigurement by third year Coach Chris Beards marvelous band of stoppers It will carry the Spartans, whose eighth Final Four trip in 21 years serves only as further flattery of the Red Raiders Remaining in town will be Texas Tech, a program with 17 tournament berths and 12 conference championships sprinkled across 94 seasons, a program that had not reached the final eight until last year, and a program that just ensured that this particular March Madness will yield two first time finalists and the first first time champion in 13 years It advanced to the closing Monday night as great waves of noise rained down from the quadrant of the stadium which, in many cases, had made the hard journey from Lubbock

It was crazy in there, said former South Dakota Coyote Matt Mooney, now of the Red Raiders As wagering minded sorts prepared to bet the under — or as Las Vegas prepared to set an under that could come up under all unders — the national championship game will come down to Virginia 34 3 , No 5 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency according to statistics guru Ken Pomeroy after floating around No 1 for much of the decade , and Texas Tech 31 6 , which sits at merely No 1

When the head of that longtime harbor of toughness, Michigan States Tom Izzo, met with Beard, He mentioned our toughness, Beard said, and that word means a lot in our program Added Beard: The thing Im most proud of is for 40 minutes we went shot for shot with one of the all time greats in Michigan State Very seldom in my career have we ever gotten out beat up, Izzo said, and tonight was one of those nights Even when Michigan State 32 7 whittled a 48 35 deficit to 52 47 with 5:38 remaining and 52 51 with 2:54 to go, the Spartans possessions all around those moments wound up looking ragged against the opposing force They told each other, Stay poised, Texas Tech senior Norense Odiase said

Be tough Everything that helped us get to this point, we just cant let it go to waste Meanwhile, after Mooney splashed down shots to establish that 13 point lead — he would score 22 points — Techs foremost player, Jarrett Culver, began making just enough beautiful offense to matter deeply He made a floater with 2:29 left to get the lead to 54 51 He made a drive that wrung a foul and one free throw of two to make it 55 51

From there came a telltale play, when Michigan State began an offensive possession that never got going because Odiase almost immediately ripped the ball from Xavier Tillman out front So when Culver crushed a three pointer from the top of the key with 58 seconds left to make it 58 51, the red noise blared even louder In the process, he raised his scoring total from three to a closing 10, and he went off as one of the happier 3 for 12 shooters extant In the past four rounds, the Red Raiders have held a terrific team averaging 85 points Buffalo to 58, a very good team averaging 70 points Michigan to 44, a fantastic team averaging 88 points Gonzaga to 69 and a perennial threat averaging 78 points Michigan State to 51 It began as a grueling game until Texas Tech pulled ahead

About 21/2 minutes before halftime, a player committed a metaphor Texas Tech graduate transfer Tariq Owens launched a three point shot from up top and managed, from all that distance, to get the thing stuck in the iron between the backboard and the left edge of the rim It sat there grimacing after thudding Its appropriateness registered even if it might have come from the wrong side At that point, Texas Tech led 21 18

It had made 7 of 22 field goal attempts for 318 percent Michigan State had managed to undercut that: It had made 6 of 21 shots for 286 percent Some early splashes, such as three three point shots by Michigan States Matt McQuaid, from the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, had dried up

Soon Mooney, another graduate transfer, scored a second chance jumper from the paint, and Texas Tech had grinded out to a seemingly insurmountable 23 18 lead, even while getting just one point from Culver In that sense, it rang with memories of what the Red Raiders had done to the other Michigan based kingdom, nine nights prior in a West Region semifinal In that game, Michigan went to halftime trailing 24 16 and looking doomed, given the opponent Michigan did get all the way to 44 before flying home Michigan State, however, has Cassius Winston and, as he did six nights prior against Duke, he regenerated the Spartans

When he made a three pointer to the right of the top of the key, a 6 minute 33 second scoring drought subsided and Michigan State budged back to 23 21, a lead Texas Tech kept into halftime largely because of Owens Owens, the 6 foot 10 flier from Odentown, Md, previously of both St Johns his first alma mater and Tennessee, rejected Tillmans shot in the paint nine seconds before halftime Given Owenss stat line at intermission — nine points, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal — his lodged three point shot earlier proved both an epitome of the game and an anomaly for him

Game updates The question was whether Michigan State could do what four previous teams could not in the NCAA tournament: score enough points against Texas Tech to have a chance to win The answer was that the Spartans could not The Red Raiders took a large second half lead, watched all but one point of it slip away and then clamped down again at the end, coming away with a 61 51 win Texas Tech goes to its first NCAA mens national championship game on Monday, against a Virginia program that also had never made it that far before Senior guard Matt Mooney led the Red Raiders with 22 points, while no one else on his team had more than 10

The Spartans were led by Cassius Winstons 16, but they made just 15 of 47 shots and became the latest team to succumb to Texas Techs fearsome defense After looking lost for most of the game, Jarrett Culver has come alive in the closing minutes He scored the last six points for Texas Tech, all badly needed after Michigan State had closed within one, and the Red Raiders lead by nine with 397 seconds left Better late than never, Culver

CLUTCH We have a game! As Texas Techs offense cratered, Michigan State went on a 16 4 run to get within one, at 52 51 At that point, the Red Raiders Jarrett Culver asserted himself, a rarity for him in this contest, and hit a shot to put his team up by three with two and an half minutes left Texas Techs offense has devolved to hoping Matt Mooney hits a shot He has 11 of the Red Raiders most recent 13 points with 3:44 left in the game

For the game, which Tech is leading, 52 47, Mooney has 22 points, while the rest of his teams starters have combined for 15 This Final Four game is in the hands of Matt Mooney, who previously played at Air Force and South Dakota What a country Michigan States Matt McQuaid, who is his teams second leading scorer with 12 points, suffered a lower leg injury on a shot attempt that missed badly with 6:22 left He limped back on the defensive end, but Texas Tech failed to make a point of isolating a player on him and missed its own shot

When the Spartans got the ball back, they called a timeout and pulled McQuaid from the game The scoring pace has picked up, although in fairness, it could hardly have gotten slower After an opening 20 minutes in which Texas Tech took a 23 21 lead over Michigan State, the teams have combined for 47 points in the first 12 minutes of the second half Unfortunately for the Spartans, the Red Raiders have scored more of those points and lead 50 42 MSU has shown signs of possibly getting hot from three point range, which might be its only hope

Jarrett Culver, Texas Techs top player who had been struggling badly, finally got a basket, making a jump shot with just more than nine minutes to go That gave his team a 50 38 lead over Michigan State, and the Red Raiders got another lift moments later, when senior center Tariq Owens, who had left the game with an ankle injury, came sprinting out of the locker room Michigan States chances for beating Texas Tech were thought to rest largely on some combination of guard Cassius Winstons effectiveness and the Spartans presumed advantage in frontcourt talent It hasnt quite played out that way, though, with MSU forwards Xavier Tillman, Kenny Goins, Aaron Henry, Nick Ward and Gabe Brown combining for 12 points, all by Henry and Ward, on 4 of 15 shooting Winston, the Spartans top overall player, has nine points but hasnt scored in the second half

Texas Tech took a 45 33 lead with 11:14 to go, with Matt Mooney getting the team to that margin with a three pointer that upped his scoring total to a game high 17 points Michigan State was forced to call a timeout, as its hopes of making it to the national championship game look fairly bleak, given the ferocious defense its facing Forward Kenny Goins, who made the game winning shot in the Spartans Elite Eight win over Duke and is the only player with previous experience in a Final Four, has no points, and his team is facing its biggest deficit of the tournament Tariq Owens, who was having a very good game for Texas Tech, appeared to turn his ankle while coming down from a shot block attempt The 6 foot 10 senior from Odenton, Md

, who transferred from St Johns, remained on the floor for a few moments in audible pain, but was able to walk off the court before being helped to the locker room Texas Tech is getting a big lift from its bench, specifically reserve players Brandone Francis and Kyler Edwards They have combined for 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting, helping the Red Raiders take a 42 33 lead with less than 12 minutes left With 4:38 gone in the second half, Texas Tech held a 32 28 lead in a game that continued to feature swarming defense on both sides

Center Tariq Owens picked up where he left off in the first half in terms of being a major presence on defense, and he pitched in with a two point jumper from just inside the arc For his part, Red Raiders star Jarrett Culver was not able to shake off his first half woes, but teammate Davide Moretti scored a pair of baskets The bad news for Texas Tech is that its best player, Jarrett Culver, has been all but invisible, with one point on 0 of 6 shooting The good news is that the Red Raiders have done what they do best and clamped down on Michigan States offense to take a 23 21 lead to the locker room at halftime Senior guard Matt Mooney led Texas Tech with nine points on 3 of 7 shooting, while the Spartans backcourt tandem of Matt McQuaid and Cassius Winston each had the same point total on a combined 6 of 15 from the field

Big man Tariq Owens made a large impact in the middle for the Red Raiders, with two blocks, four rebounds and a steal Michigan State had a 16 14 edge in rebounding overall but may need to up that advantage to get more possessions and make up for its cavalcade of missed shots With defense minded Virginia waiting in the national championship game Monday, many online observers are already predicting that a Texas Tech win in this contest will result in an alarmingly low scoring affair for all the marbles Michigan State still has a say in that, but it could be in big trouble in the second half if Culver, a candidate to go in the top five in the NBA draft, gets untracked A UVA/Texas Tech final? Texas Techs Matt Mooney finally got his team a bucket with 2:09 left in the first half following a field goal drought of six and a half minutes

That gave the Red Raiders a 23 18 lead, and Michigan State followed by committing a shot clock violation Texas Tech went on a 10 2 run to take a 21 18 lead with 4:35 to go in the first half, before Michigan States Xavier Tillman was fouled on a shot attempt He missed both free throws, remaining scoreless in the game Texas Techs defense as been every bit as fierce as advertised The Red Raiders have swarmed any Michigan State player with the ball and harassed seemingly every shot attempt by the Spartans

What they havent done is put the ball in the basket themselves and as a result, the game has seen just two points scored — on two free throws — between the 7:37 mark and a timeout with 2:30 left in the first half A wedgie or neck ball at the Final Four! With 7:21 left in the first half, neither teams most prominent player — Jarrett Culver for Texas Tech and Cassius Winston for Michigan State — has made a major impact They have combined for seven points on 2 of 8 shooting with one rebound and two assists as the Red Raiders have taken a 19 18 lead Texas Tech has been led in scoring by Tariq Owens, Matt Mooney and Brandone Francis, each with five points Forward Xavier Tillman, another key player for the Spartans, has zero points on as many shot attempts

Matt McQuaid has gotten off to a hot start, with his Spartans ahead 14 11 lead with under 12 minutes to play in the first half The senior guard from Duncanville, Tex, about five hours from Texas Techs campus, has hit three of five shots for nine points The Red Raiders star player, sophomore guard Jarrett Culver, has just one point on 0 of 2 shooting At the first TV timeout with just over four minutes played, the game was tied at 6, which was to be expected given the defensive skills of Texas Tech and Michigan State

The Red Raiders had three turnovers in the early going to the Spartans two, while they combined to go 3 of 3 on three point attempts While Michigan States Matt McQuaid opened the scoring with a three pointer — a very welcome sight for the Spartans — Texas Techs Tariq Owens had the most early impact The 6 foot 10 senior forward nearly made spectacular dunk off an alley oop pass on the opening possession, only to have it bounce off the rim He did tie the score on a three point make and followed that with steal before dribbling downcourt and finding teammate Jarrett Culver, who was fouled on a layup attempt How they got here: Michigan State 32 6 finished the regular season winning seven of its eight final games to claim a share of the Big Ten title, before going three for three in the conference tournament to claim that crown, as well

Despite that, the Spartans landed in the same region as top overall seed Duke, a move by the selection committee that drew widespread condemnation Michigan State had a relatively easy time of it once in the tournament, beating No 15 seed Bradley, 76 65; No 10 seed Minnesota, 70 50; and No 3 seed LSU, 80 63

That set up a date with Duke, The Red Raiders 30 6 won 15 of their first 16 games and finished atop the Big 12 standings They lost to West Virginia the conference tournament title game, but have looked dominant since Texas Tech cruised through its tournament schedule — a 72 57 win over No 14 seed Northern Kentucky, a 78 58 triumph over No 6 seed Buffalo and a 63 44 victory over No

2 seed Michigan — Final Four history: Michigan State is in its 10th Final Four, and eighth in the past 21 seasons, which leads the nation The Spartans 10 total trips are eighth most of any school They won the national championship in 1979 and 2000, and played in the title game in 2009 But Michigan State has lost four of past five national semifinals Texas Tech has never played in the Final Four

They said it: Everybody would like to have what Duke and Kentucky have as far as personnel Both of them have had incredible years, but experience does matter too, you know Somewhere theres probably a happy medium If you dont have the best talent, youd better be very old and very experienced — Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo

Weve seen the lion roar and weve roared back — Michigan State injured wing Joshua Langford, Theres guys on our team that have given up Netflix after 9 pm Theres guys on our team that have given up social media

Theres guys that have given up fried food You basically have to sacrifice something In our culture, if you say youre going to do it, youd better do it, or youre about to get roasted So me this year, its no beer, no desserts, no candy I havent had any ice cream, candy, cake, beer, since first day of practice

A couple things, though Did you know a Pop Tart is not a dessert? Its a breakfast Ive eaten a lot of Pop Tarts, man, since October — Texas Tech Coach Chris Beard Im sure once I walk out there for the first time, it will hit home

Im living a dream right now — This Final Four pits the unentitled against the unentitled Its a Final Four without famed one and done players, a Final Four built off the painstaking, day to day, years long quest for improvement Even perhaps its best player, Michigan State leader Cassius Winston, when asked to critique the player he was upon arrival in college, began with, I would say clueless

The Cavaliers arent going to be satisfied with anything short of the schools first national championship in mens basketball But in many ways, whatever unfolds in the sports final weekend is simply a bonus The likely future NBA lottery picks numbers are down His teammates and coach arent worried one iota about the state of the Hunters offensive game entering Saturday nights national semifinal Without one of the most remarkable plays in NCAA tournament history, the Cavaliers would be home this week and Tony Bennett would still be hearing doubters claiming his system cant produce a Final Four team

The author of that play was Clark, the 5 foot 9 inch freshman point guard The kerfuffle surrounding the wedding registry of Kyle Guy and Alexa Jenkins is over, according to Virginia Athletic Director Carla Williams After the guard and his fiancee said they were told posting their wedding registry online constituted an NCAA violation, Williams said the couple would be permitted to do so Virginias journey, much like the last time the Cavaliers were within two wins of a national title, has featured constant reminders of a crushing loss along the way Heres a look back at that 1984 run

If Lubbock seems a worthy place for a little surrealism, well, the 230,000 odd people who live there seem to be feeling just that Theyre adapting to one of those truths hard to process because it previously had occurred precisely never The whole thing is almost absurdly fresh The Posts Neil Greenberg says Virginia has a 74 percent win probability on Saturday night, while Michigan State has a better than 50 percent chance to win Please enter a valid email address

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