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FINAL FOUR: Texas Tech outlasts Gonzaga to make it to Minneapolis

Jarrett Culver leads the team with 19 and great defense all around.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - West Regional - Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

My oh my. The Texas Tech Red Raiders are on the way to Minneapolis and the Final Four. They beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs by a score of 75-69 and how sweet it was. The Red Raiders played a complete defensive game against the best offensive team in the country.

The game was going back and forth at the beginning with the Bulldogs getting a ton of fast break points early on, more than the Red Raiders had allowed all tournament long. Norense Odiase got the scoring started for the Red Raiders with a layup. The Red Raiders had trouble with Rui Hachimura all game long as led the Bulldogs early on. Gonzaga did a good job getting him match-ups that favored him early on.

Matt Mooney and Kyler Edwards kept the Red Raiders close in the first half of this game. Both hit crucial shots to keep the Red Raiders in this game. Jarrett Culver struggled a little bit as Gonzaga was doing a great job putting good match-ups on him. The halftime score was 37-35, with the Red Raiders trailing.

Coach Beard and his staff came in to halftime and made some necessary adjustments. At this point in the game, the largest lead was five and it was back and forth at a bit faster pace than the Red Raiders would have liked. They needed to go into half two and slow the pace down.

That’s exactly what they did.

Jarrett Culver got the scoring started with two free-throws, tying the game up at 37. The lead continued to change hands, with Hachimura hitting a shot followed by Edwards hitting a three pointer to put the Red Raiders in front. After a three pointer from Zach Norvell Jr., the Zags held the lead for until Brandone made a layup with 11 minutes remaining giving the Red Raiders the lead, something that would not be relinquished for the remainder of the game.

It was close throughout, the Red Raiders largest lead only being 7 points. The last minute of the game was very close as both the Red Raiders and Bulldogs were hitting shot after shot. The Red Raiders had a couple of turnovers to let Gonzaga back in the game. Davide Moretti hit two technical free throws and Jarrett Culver hit two more with seconds left to give the Red Raiders the win.

Every player that stepped on the floor for the Red Raiders made a huge impact for the team. Tariq Owens had a huge impact defensively, blocking 5 shots, collecting 7 rebounds, and even scoring a three pointer on his way to a 9 point performance. Kyler Edwards came off the bench to score two three pointers on his way to a 8 point game.

Brandone Francis was impressive on the defensive end, picking the pocket of Brandon Clarke in a crucial moment of the game. He also scored 6 points. Davide Moretti scored in double digits again, ending with 12 points, including 2 three pointer, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Matt Mooney helped keep the Red Raiders close in the first half, he finished with 17 points and 5 assists to go with 3 steals.

Player of the Game: Jarrett Culver

Culver started out slow. Gonzaga seemed to have his number early and the Red Raiders had a hard time getting him good shots early. But that didn’t stop Culver, and that’s what set the Red Raiders apart from the Bulldogs. Culver ended with 19 points, including 2 three pointers, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. He also shot 7-8 from the free throw line.

The Red Raiders will be going to Minneapolis, the Final Four for the first time ever. That’s pretty amazing, like once in a lifetime amazing. They will face either Duke or Michigan State, both will be tough match-ups and one could potentially be a re-match from earlier in the season. Who do you think is a better match-up for the Red Raiders? Let us know in the comment section below.