Texas Tech is going to the Final Four for the first time in program history after earning a 75-69 win over Gonzaga with Jarrett Culver recording 19 points and six rebounds and Davide Moretti hitting a pair of crucial 3-pointers down the stretch on Saturday at the Honda Center.
The No. 3-seeded Red Raiders (30-6) reached the Elite Eight for the first time ever last season and returned this season with the goal of creating more history after also winning their first Big 12 Conference regular-season championship. Tech did that by holding the Bulldogs (33-4) under 70 points for only the fourth time this season and will now be playing in the Final Four next week in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"How about our four seniors," Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. "The backbone of our team. Norense and Brandone, a big part of our success. Tariq and Matt as grad transfers buying into our culture so quickly. It's like they've been here for their whole careers. I've always loved our seniors, but never been more proud than the four guys to my left right now. They're really the story of Tech basketball this year. I'm glad I get to coach them again. The Final Four is awesome and all that, but the most cool thing is I get to coach these guys again. We get to get after it again in practice and travel and spend time together. That's going to be a special week for us"
Culver led the team with 19 points and was named the West Region's Most Outstanding Player, while Matt Mooney added 17 points and Moretti went for 12 with his two 3-pointers that helped push the Red Raiders to the win over the Bulldogs. Tariq Owens finished the game with nine points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, Brandone Francis added six and freshman Kyler Edwards went for eight points.
"It's huge, for our program, for our city, for us personally, for our family, our friends, it's huge," said senior Norense Odiase who had four points in the win. "Everything we worked for starting off in the summer the workouts, the retreat, the battles we've been through, the struggles, man. It's huge. It means the world to work so hard and it pay off. It definitely hasn't hit me. Hasn't hit us. I don't think, yet. But it's huge for all of us and we're just so excited that we get to play with each other again."
Mooney and Culver were both named to the all-tournament team for the Red Raiders, joined by Gonzaga's Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura and Florida State's Trent Forrest.