Virginia head coach Tony Bennett, guard Ty Jerome (left) and their teammates celebrate after beating Texas Tech Monday for an NCAA college basketball championship. (AP photo)
Virginia’s nail-biting trip through the NCAA Tournament will go down in history as one of the most clutch performances from game-to-game by any championship team.
The Cavaliers’ overtime victory over Texas Tech Monday made them just the sixth title team to win multiple-overtime games in a tournament, and the first since Arizona accomplished the feat in 1997.
They outscored their opponents by a scant combined 45 points, the third-lowest margin of victory by a championship team since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The only comfortable game was their opening win over No. 16 seed Gardner-Webb, and that came after falling into an early hole. Virginia beat Oklahoma 63-51 in the second round, edged Oregon 53-49 in the regional semifinals and needed a last-second floater to force OT in a win over Purdue.
“We have a saying: The most faithful win,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “These guys were so faithful. Obviously we had some amazing plays.”