March 29, 2019 / 6:44 AM / 3 months ago

Texas Tech stymies Michigan to return to Elite 8

Sophomore Jarrett Culver scored 22 points while Texas Tech smothered Michigan in a historic defensive effort as the Red Raiders won 63-44 in an NCAA Tournament West Region semifinal on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif.

March 28, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Jarrett Culver (23) scores a basket and draws a foul against the Michigan Wolverines during the second half in the semifinals of the west regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Third-seeded Texas Tech (29-6) harassed second-seeded Michigan into 32.7 percent shooting, including a 1-for-19 effort from 3-point range. Walk-on CJ Baird hit a shot from behind the arc with 22 seconds left to prevent Michigan from going without a trey for the first time since 2013.

Michigan set a program record for fewest points in the first half of an NCAA Tournament game (16) and total points. Both previous marks dated to the Wolverines’ first NCAA Tournament game, in 1948 against Holy Cross.

“We were fortunate tonight,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. “Michigan didn’t shoot the ball well. But you have to give our guys credit.

“I love the way we were sharing the ball, getting assists, and we had nice balance. Several guys stepped up and made shots.”

Texas Tech, which reached the first Elite Eight in its history last season, will play top-seeded Gonzaga on Saturday in the regional final.

Davide Moretti contributed 15 points for Texas Tech, which got 10 from Matt Mooney. Tariq Owens had seven points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.

Freshman Ignas Brazdeikis led Michigan (30-7) with 17 points and 13 rebounds, his third double-double. Charles Matthews scored 12 points but committed a game-high five turnovers.

The Wolverines, who entered with the nation’s lowest turnover rate (8.9 per game), committed 10 by early in the second half and finished with 14.

“We wanted to have a low-turnover game, so that was good,” Beard said. “I thought we guarded. We had so much respect for Michigan. I thought our guys defended at a high level today.”

The matchup of two of the top defensive teams in the country started as expected, but the Red Raiders got hot while the Wolverines did not. Michigan’s 44 points were the lowest ever for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

“I feel like we stayed true to ourselves,” Culver said. “We played the defense we’ve been playing all year. Their shots weren’t going in, and we had urgency to stay true to our defense.”

“They get their hands on a lot of things to cause those turnovers,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “They’re quick, they’re good, they’re long, they’re veteran. It showed. And they’re well-coached as well.”

Texas Tech led 24-16 at halftime and then started to fly in the second half.

Owens soared to flush an alley-oop pass from Moretti, who then drained a 3-pointer after a steal for a 34-18 lead with 16:56 to go. Owens dunked again a minute later as Texas Tech doubled-up Michigan’s point total.

Michigan trailed by at least 20 points for most of the final 10 minutes.

Midway through the first half, the teams had combined to make 5 of 26 shots, and the game was tied at 6.

The Red Raiders found their offense, making eight of their final 13 shots of the half, including a bit of luck from Mooney, who beat the shot clock with a turnaround 3-pointer that banked in for an 18-12 lead.

—Field Level Media

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