TTU Men’s Basketball Historic Final Four 2019 Season
In arguably one of TTU Men’s Basketballs’ best seasons ever. The Red Raiders recorded a 31-7 overall record in the 2019 season and were able to reach the NCAA Championship in the Final Four. With several stars on the roster, the team would fight through the season while taking minimal losses.
TTU Red Raiders Basketball Roster
To begin the the TTU Men’s Basketball 2019 season first stating the roster is necessary to properly highlight those players and what they accomplished in the final four run.
To start the list is Freshman Kyler Edwards. Coming from Arlington, Texas Edwards was dominant in March Madness of the 2019 season from the 3 point line. The Arlington native could put points on the board in any arena and at any site in his freshman campaign. Now with three seasons as a Red Raider. Edwards took his talents to The University of Houston making isi travels Arlington to Lubbock now to Houston.
Another big help for the Red Raiders came from Brandone Francis who is from the Dominican Republic. His help to the team was vital because of his ability to compete on both ends of the floor.
Deshawn Corpew while not getting a significant amount of playing time was a key role play off the bench. Coming just down the road from South Plains College Corpew held the size to be a threat on both ends of the floor.
Malik Ondigo who was a 6’10” sophomore also held a ton of potential for Texas Tech. Graduating from Putnam Science Academy away from his hometown high school Ondigo would eventually leave the Red Raiders. While Putnam Science Academy was a prep school it helped Ondigo get to the next level after high school that made him a vital player for the team.
Next on the roster was arguably one of the most hardworking individuals in Tariq Owens. While he had a massive presence in the 2019 campaign his years prior were huge as well. While being somewhat underweight Owens was able to dominant the competition in his 2019 campaign.
Another key bench player for the Red Raiders came in Andrei Savrasov. Coming all the way from Saint Petersburg Russia Head Coach Chris Beard and Assistant Coach Mark Adams had high hopes for Savrasov and after a season of training he was not as developed as Coach Beard and Coach Adams hoped for. He then a season later would transfer.
Matt Mooney is the next player on the Red Raiders roster. Mooney made a massive contribution when it came to assists and putting numbers on the score board for the team in 2019 and was a big part of the 2019 campaign. After the season Mooney would forgo the NBA where he would then be drafted to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The next player and in this season one of the most valuable is San Antonio native Kevin McCullar. As a freshman his role on the team was limited but did present a phenomenal amount of potential that is now showing on both ends of the floor. In 2021-2022 look for the San Antonio Native to have a big season as he is looking to further build his resume.
TTU Men’s Basketball Roster Continued…
Parker Hicks is the next Red Raiders to be in the spotlight from the TTU Men’s Basketball 2019 season. At 6’6″ from Decatur, Texas Hicks had minimal playing time but was another vital piece of the 2019 team. As a sophomore he then would transfer to take his talent elsewhere.
The next player on the finals run roster that also had minimal playing time is freshman forward Khavon Moore. The Georgia native while having minimal playing time displayed an enormous amount of potential but after the championship run would not return with the Red Raiders.
The next and arguably most talented player on and off the court is Jarret Culver. Loaded with potential Culver had one of the biggest roles for the Red Raiders in the 2019 season finals season and eventually would go onto be drafted in the NBA. He now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves and will look to have a breakout season in the 2021-2022 season.
While there was a lot of bench players for the Red Raiders in 2019 one of the most influential was Avery Benson. Graduating high school from Southwest Christian Academy in Arkansas, Benson was a walk on that like others presented a lot of potential. The Southwest Christian Academy graduate while quiet in the 2019 season was electric in the season after.
One of the more popular players for the Red Raiders came all the way from Italy. While only being 6’2″ Davide Moretti presented himself as a major threat from all over the court. One of the leading scorers for the Red Raiders Moretti became a force to be reckoned with in the 2019 season. He now plays in the pro leagues in Italy.
Another player who didn’t see many minutes on the courts but still had a huge role in the moral of the game was redshirt junior Andrew Sorrels. Making it to the finals he had a huge part on and off the court in the 2019 season. Afterwards he would transfer across town to LCU where he would elevate the team to another level.
Coming to the end of the roster one of the key big men came from Norense Odiase. Standing at 6’8″ Odiase also had a big part on the boards all season long. As a captain he helped the Red Raiders continually throughout the season and is still a big part of Red Raider nation to this day.
The last player on the team all the way from France is Josh Mballa. As a freshman his role on the team was minimal but still played an enormous part in the teams success. Shortly after the 2019 season Mballa would enter the transfer portal leaving the team.
National Compassion Foundation – Santa Fe Strong Fund Exhibition
The Red Raiders would begin their season at home in Lubbock, Tx. In the National Compassion Foundation – Santa Fe Strong Fund Exhibition the Red Raiders would start out their season 2-0 beating down Incarnate Word in their 1st game and UTEP. One game winning by 24 and the other by 50 points.
Hall of Fame Classic Regional Round
After a strong start to the season Texas Tech Men’s Basketball would compete in the Hall of Fame Classic Regional Round and keep up the momentum in their 3rd game. The Red Raiders would again win two games by big margins once again, the first against Mississippi Valley State by 32. The other by 19 against Southeastern Louisiana in the home matchup in Lubbock, Tx.
Hall of Fame Classic
Moving on in the season the Texas Tech would then take on the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo at Sprint Center. For the third time the team would win by a landslide. The first game against Southern California by 15 and the second against No. 25 ranked Nebraska by 18. After the Hall of Fame Classic Texas Tech Men’s Basketball Team would then compete against Northern Colorado and win by 31.
Now on a seven game win-streak to begin the season. The team would turn their attentions towards the Hoophall Invitational in Miami Florida at American Airlines Arena. In another double digit win the team would win by 11. With the invitational now over the team would compete against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Northwestern State. In Lubbock, Texas at home in United Supermarkets Arena the team would handle the first game by 18 points and the second by 35.
With the preseason now wrapping up and the team undefeated. Only three games for the Texas Tech Men’s Basketball team would remain. In the first game against Abilene Christian in Lubbock, Tx in the very last game ever in Lubbock Municipal Coliseum. The team would win in a blowout win 82-48. The second from last game of the preseason the team would take on the No. 2 ranked Duke at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In one of the biggest game on the Red Raiders schedule and in sports history. The two teams would face off. Up against big names such as Zion Williamson and RJ Barret to name a few. The Red Raiders would drop their first game of the season 69-58.
Now with their first loss in 12 games the team would play their last pregame against UTRGV before entering the big 12 regular season. The team would win again win by 25 to end their preseason with a 12-1 record .
Big 12 Season
After a succesful preseason the TTU Men’s Basketball 2019 team would then take on West Virginia. On the road the team would merely escape with a victory 62-59. In the 20-game Big 12 season the team would first win the next three. Before dropping a game against Iowa State. The Iowa State loss would be the only home loss of the season where the Cyclones would escape with an upset and 4 point win.
Now with their first Big 12 Conference Basketball loss. The Red Raiders would go onto lose their 2nd and 3rd games against Baylor and Kansas State on the road to the final four.
SEC/Big 12 Matchup
Now in the conference season the team would turn their attention towards the SEC/Big 12 Matchup where they would take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. In the home game for Texas Tech the team would edge out the Razorbacks 67-64 led by Davide Moretti. Moretti, the Bologna, Italy native had already been having a massive season for the Red Raiders and would look to continue his dominant performance.
Now back in conference play the Red Raiders would still a game from the TCU Horned Frogs at home in a blowout win. In their next game the team would travel to Allen Field House in Kansas to take on the Jayhawks. In another key matchup the Red Raiders would drop the game 63-79. The Jayhawks who is a basketball school with a deep team at the time would be ranked No. 11 in the NCAA Tournament rankings.
After the loss the Red Raiders would go on a nine game win streak to end the Big 12 season. With almost every win being by double digits. In a must win in the win streak several players would get their chance for some minutes against Oklahoma State. Again big names such as the Bologna, Italy native Davide Moretti would put up eight assists. The game would also present playing time for players such as Andrei Savrasov who is from Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament
After a succesful pre and regular season the Texas Tech Men’s Basketball Team would then head into an elite matchup against West Virginia in the Philipps 66 Big 12 Tournament aired on ESPN. In a bath and forth game the mountaineers would take the game to knockout the Red Raiders 74-79. After the game Head Coach Chris Beard then would turn his attention towards the championship .
NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds
Heading in the TTU Men’s Basketball 2019 team would take on several top tier school/opponent that would test not only the depth of the team but the versatility. In their first game the team would face Northern Kentucky. Now the team would beat out the Norse by a score of 72-57.
Now in the second rate then team would take on No. 15 ranked Buffalo. Not playing anymore games in the conf the team would take on college teams at a higher caliber. In the matchup the team would play a hard fought game but win by 20 by a score of 78-58. Now with two wins to date and two contests played in the tournament the team would head to the to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.
Sweet 16 and Elite 8
Now in their 3rd and 4th contest, Texas Tech would face off against some of the best athletics programs in the country. Lead by Coach Chris Beard the Red Raiders would then play two teams that would rank high with Michigan at No. 8 and Gonzaga at No. 4.
In one of the top sports moments against an experienced opponent in a non conference game in Michigan. In the hard fought competition the roster a whole would step up to get on the same page to take it to the Michigan Wolverines. After it was said and done the Texas Tech would beat Michigan 63-44.
Now advanced past the third round. The team would the team would have a greater chance for the next season with recruiting. Again the team united, to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs. That like the Red Raiders were playing for the goal of playing for a title. In the contest the team would search for an answer to stop the Bulldogs high powered offense. This would come in the form of Jarret Culver who had 19 points. Tariq Owens who had 7 boards and Matt Mooney who added 5 assists to the win by a score of 75-69.
Now in the home stretch the Texas Tech Red Raiders would have two more matches to win. To come home with the title. In the games both would represent the school logo well that again was one of the greatest sports moments in Texas Tech history.
The final four held arguably one of the most competitive opponents the team and school and thus far faced. Now with a rank of No. 5 the team would be on site with a mission of winning one more. The team again united to make one of the best college basketball tournaments ever. In the contest Texas Tech played Michigan State and went onto win 61-51.
Now in the national championship game after the final four and for the title of 1st in the country against their best opponent yet the team would represent the Tech logo well. Led by Head Coach Chris Beard and Assistant Coach Mark Adams the team would fight to the very end. In their 6th contest of March Madness the team would fall short 77-85 in overtime. In one of the best college Cinderella sports stories of all team the team would fall against a tough Virginia team. Virginia would be led by De’Andre who would put up 27 to put the Red Raiders away.
Now with their season over and with many players moving on the team would look to reload to make another run at the title.
Impact the season had on Lubbock, Tx
After the dust had cleared. The TTU Men’s Basketball 2019 season went down as one of the greatest seasons in TTU Men’s Basketball ever making it to the final four. While the Red Raiders were on their Final Four March Madness run. At home in Lubbock the city was on its feet the entire time. After winning and being slated to take on Virginia the Texas Tech and Lubbock community by rioting in celebration on Broadway.
The historic final four season also bestowed a tradition onto Texas Tech fans making it one of the most popular sports in the region. If you’re looking for an experience it is always worth the trip whether is be in the United Supermarkets Arena. Or away to watch some Red Raider Basketball and hear those raider power chants.
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Story by Campus Live Employee Trinity Porter