Bengals fan and Virginia guard Kyle Guy is now a national champion

Virginia's De'Andre Hunter left and Ty Jerome celebrate in front of Auburn guard Bryce Brown at the end of a semifinal round game in the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament Saturday

But also like in the semifinal game, Hunter came out on fire in the second half.

This was 31-7 Texas Tech's first Final Four appearance ever and the Red Raiders disposed of Northern Kentucky, Cinderalla Buffalo, Michigan, Gonzaga and Michigan State.

Virginia's De'Andre Hunter was a freshman when the Cavaliers were upset by No. 16 UMBC in the 2018 tournament.

Virginia walked through the blue and orange confetti that littered the championship floor with Jerome carrying the national championship trophy back to the locker room.

The nation's best defense couldn't afford to give up a 3, but Jerome skipped a pass to Hunter, who was open on the wing - and spotted up and drained it. Culver missed a 3 with Guy in his face with a second left, and we were headed to overtime.

"When they came on the recruiting visit, I remember telling them, look, the foundation has been laid by guys - Joe [Harris] and Malcolm [Brogdon] were here and all the guys who went before", Bennett said. "So he's just been great all year for us and the other teams". It was on line.

Virginia claimed the NCAA crown one year after becoming the first number one seeded team to be knocked out of the NCAA tournament by the 16th seeded team when they lost (74-54) in the opening round to unheralded University of Maryland, Baltimore County. They showed their heart in defeat, which makes for a bittersweet feeling at the end of the night-but the reason we care about sports isn't because a single championship validates our existence; it's because we can use what happens during the game as a metaphor for the things we care about. Hunter notched nine rebounds and a steal, playing a major part in holding the Texas Tech star to 15 points on 5-of-22 shooting.

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On Monday, Francis had 17 points off the bench to lead Texas Tech.

"We work on that every day in practice", Beard said. We put Jarrett Culver's length on him a little bit.

"Boy, he's special", Bennett said. We had Matt on him.

A 1 seed once again, they fell behind by 14 early to 16th-seeded Gardner-Webb in this year's opening round, and a nightmare seemed to be unfolding. Like his teammates Jerome and Kyle Guy, who earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award after his clutch free throws punched Virginia's ticket to the championship, Hunter found a way to come alive despite having shaky performances throughout the tournament.

This Virginia team continued to persevere.

It was Hunter's 3-point basket from the right corner with 2:09 that regained the lead for Virginia.

Some guys run into history, Hunter stood and shot his way there. College basketball OT lasts for five minutes, unless the game is still tied, in which case it goes on for another five minutes.

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