A full team effort was needed to take down No. 1 seed Gonzaga Saturday afternoon and send Texas Tech to its first-ever Final Four, 75-69.
After a back-and-forth affair in which no team held a lead larger than seven points, Davide Morretti’s clutch 3-pointers in the final four minutes followed by Tariq Owens’ game-changing block on Rui Hachimura were only a few of the standout sequences that swung the game in the Red Raiders’ favor.
But perhaps the single most costly swing came from Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins. With 11 ticks left and Tech up by a single basket on an inbounds pass (And after Perkins hit a clutch 3-pointer of his own to cut the lead two with 20 seconds left) Perkins inexplicably swiped at the ball still in the inbounder, Matt Mooney’s, hands resulting in a technical foul with Tech retaining possession after the free throws.
The lead was pushed to six after Tech converted free throws toward the end.
Tech hadn’t allowed more than 50 points all tournament long, but no one was surprised when the Zags topped that mark in the second half thanks to their trio of Hachimura, Perkins and Brandon Clarke (56 combined points).
This effort was after the Red Raiders suffocated the Big 10 runner-up Michigan Wolverines the round before, 63-44.
It’s been quite the rapid rise for Chris Beard who was just coaching at Angelo State in Division II in 2013 to winning Tech’s first Big XII regular season title and making a Final Four appearance.