Texas Tech, a workforce that rode its best-in-the-nation protection all season, unveiled a shock towards No. 1 seed Gonzaga Saturday evening — a potent 3-point assault.
The No. Three seeded Pink Raiders used their defensive tenacity and that long-range assault to knock off the Bulldogs, 75-69, within the West Regional remaining to earn their first-ever look within the Closing 4.
Texas Tech (30-6) will face the winner of Sunday’s Duke-Michigan State matchup subsequent Saturday in Minneapolis.
The Bulldogs, who had been attempting to make their second Closing 4 prior to now three years, end the 12 months 33-Four and might be left questioning what else they may have achieved towards a workforce enjoying so nicely on each ends.
Listed here are three takeaways from the Pink Raiders’ large victory.
The Pink Raiders’ protection lived as much as its billing
The Pink Raiders ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in defensive effectivity this season, they usually gave Gonzaga hassle all the sport. The Pink Raiders knocked away passes, crammed the passing lanes, contested photographs, collapsed on gamers with the ball, and sometimes regarded as in the event that they had been enjoying with six males on the ground. Over one 13-minute stretch within the second half, they held the Bulldogs — the No. 1 workforce within the nation this 12 months in offensive effectivity — to only three discipline targets. Three.
The Texas Tech protection saved its most spectacular play for close to the top, nevertheless.
With slightly below a minute to go and Gonzaga trailing by six, Gonzaga ahead Rui Hachimura lined up a 3-point try from the nook. However 6-foot-10 ahead Tariq Owens closed on Hachimura, blocked the shot, and saved it from going out of bounds.
— NCAA March Insanity (@marchmadness) March 31, 2019
Anybody who puzzled if the Texas Tech protection would falter barely towards the highly effective Gonzaga offense did not should surprise very lengthy. The Pink Raiders had 9 steals, seven blocks (Owens had 5 of these), pressured 16 turnovers and restricted the Bulldogs to 7-of-26 capturing from behind the arc.
The Pink Raiders can play offense, too
There is a tendency to contemplate Texas Tech a one-dimensional, defensive-oriented workforce. Sure, the D is nice, however they will rating, too.
Texas Tech averaged 7.1 made 3-pointers per sport this season. Jarrett Culver hit the Pink Raiders’ seventh 3-pointer with round 14 minutes remaining Saturday. They ended up making 9-of-23 photographs from lengthy vary, with six gamers hitting a minimum of one 3.
— NCAA March Insanity (@marchmadness) March 30, 2019
These two further 3-pointers the Pink Raiders hit had been actually the distinction between victory and defeat towards the Bulldogs. It could be asking quite a bit for Texas Tech to shoot that many threes, that precisely, within the Closing 4. That is not the Pink Raiders’ typical sport plan. But it surely labored to perfection Saturday.
Matt Mooney stepped up large for Pink Raiders
Huge 12 Participant of the Yr Jarrett Culver is the person who makes the Pink Raiders’ offense go, main the workforce with 18.9 factors per sport. However Gonzaga hounded him all the contest, throwing a number of completely different defenders at him, limiting him to 5-of-18 capturing en path to 19 factors.
This made room for the unsung 6-Three senior guard Matt Mooney.
Mooney, who averages 10.9 factors per sport, made a number of nice strikes within the lane to put the ball in round Gonzaga’s shot blockers. He made six of his 12 photographs for 17 factors, his largest scoring evening since he had 18 on Jan. 28 towards TCU. If Mooney performs that nicely once more within the Closing 4 — nicely, something can occur.
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard summed up the Pink Raiders’ efficiency nicely.
“They did precisely what we wished to,” Beard mentioned.