Anaheim, California: The third-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders are headed to the Final Four for the first time in school history after beating top-seeded Gonzaga 75-69 Saturday at the Honda Center in the championship game of the West Regional.
Jarrett Culver led the Red Raiders with 19 points. Rui Hachimura had 22 points for the Bulldogs.
With the win, Texas Tech denied Gonzaga’s bid for a second Final Four appearance in three years.
The Red Raiders continued their meteoric rise during coach Chris Beard’s third season with the team. Before Beard took over, Texas Tech had not won an NCAA tournament game since 2005.
“I go to the Final Four every year,” Beard said. “This is the first time I get to go and coach a team I love.”
During the 2016-17 season, Beard’s first at Texas Tech, the Red Raiders missed the NCAA tournament. But the following year they reached the Elite Eight for the first time in school history and they have taken another step forward this season.
On Saturday, Gonzaga led at the intermission 37-35 after a fast-paced first half. At one point the teams trading baskets on six straight possessions and four of those baskets were three-pointers as the frenzied offense energized the crowd.
Trailing by three, Tech took control with a run midway through the second half and held on.
In Minneapolis, site of this year’s Final Four, Texas Tech (30-6) will play the winner of the Elite Eight matchup Sunday between top-seeded Duke and second-seeded Michigan State in the semifinals April 6.
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Image: The Texas Tech Raiders are headed to the first-ever Final Four.