The Latest: Texas Tech beats Michigan State to reach final

Big Tournament
Texas Tech wins

MINNEAPOLIS (NEXSTAR/AP) — Texas Tech has earned a trip to Monday night's championship game to face Virginia.

The Red Raiders beat Michigan State 61-51 in Saturday night's second national semifinal.

Matt Mooney scored 22 points to lead Texas Tech, which is playing in its first Final Four.

Leading scorer Jarrett Culver was quiet for much of the night, but he scored six straight points to keep the Red Raiders in control after the Spartans had cut a 13-point deficit to 52-51 with 2:54 left.

Texas Tech shot 56 percent after halftime, while its trademark defensive edge locked down on Michigan State. The Spartans shot just 32 percent, including 8 of 24 in the second half.

Cassius Winston scored 16 points to lead the Spartans.

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9:00 p.m. 

Surprise, surprise! Defense is the name of the game again tonight, with Texas Tech's stifling half-court pressure enough to produce a 23-21 lead over Michigan State at halftime in the second national semifinal at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Spartans made only one of nine field goals over the final 7½ minutes of the first period, a 3-pointer by Cassius Winston with 1:03 left. They're 7 for 23 from the field, with nine points apiece from Winston and Matt McQuaid.

The Red Raiders, who have allowed the third-fewest points per game in the nation this season, have nine points from Matt Mooney.

8:40 p.m.

The celebrity factor is always high at the Final Four, and Texas Tech and Michigan State each have a hotshot NFL quarterback on their side in the house in Minneapolis.

Minnesota's Kirk Cousins is cheering on his Spartans, in the same stadium where he plays for the Vikings in the fall. Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes III is rooting on his Red Raiders, with Chiefs teammate Travis Kelce sitting next to him in the seats.

Cousins and Mahomes traded tweets earlier in the day, with Cousins sending a #GoGreen hash tag with a GIF of the Sparty mascot at Mahomes. Mahomes directed a #GunsUp hash tag with a GIF of mascot Raider Red at Cousins.

Both NFL stars were shown on the scoreboard, prompting loud roars from the respective fan bases.

Cousins is third on the current NFL list of average annual contract value for quarterbacks at $28 million. Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, is 32nd at $4.1 million.

8:00 p.m.

The second national semifinal game has begun at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis between Texas Tech and Michigan State, with Virginia waiting for the winner in the championship on Monday night.

Spartans coach Tom Izzo has taken his team to the Final Four for the eighth time, with point guard Cassius Winston leading the way this season after surviving the stacked East Region and defeating consensus favorite Duke, the No. 1 overall seed, in the Elite Eight.

This is the first appearance for the Red Raiders, who are coached by Chris Beard and fueled his relentlessly aggressive defensive approach. The Red Raiders also beat a No. 1 seed to get here, taking down Gonzaga in the West Region final last weekend.

 

 

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