PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The NCAA men’s basketball title game was an overtime thriller Monday night. The University of Virginia is now home to the national champs, and a player who calls Philly home had a lot to do with it.
The clock was winding down. The game was on the line. Virginia needed a three-pointer to tie up the game and stay alive. The ball and the University of Virginia’s season were in De’Andre Hunter’s hands. Then the 21-year-old Philadelphia native knocked down the biggest shot of his life to send the game into overtime, where Virginia took control.
“It’s surreal,” Hunter said. “It’s a goal we set at the beginning of the season. We knew we were going to bounce back from last year. We achieved our dreams.”
Hunter, a 2016 graduate of Friends Central in Wynnewood, was referring to last year, when Virginia became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16 seed. He wasn’t there for that, because he broke his wrist.
“This is a great win for our program. Great win for our coach. We worked for this all offseason and all that work just paid off.”
Monday night marked Hunter’s final game in a Virginia uniform, a struggle in the first half, but he had some big shots when it mattered the most. Of his 27 points, 22 came in the second half and overtime.
It reflects Hunter’s career. His freshman year, he didn’t make it off the bench. He was redshirted. He had a really good season last year, until he broke his wrist. But today, Hunter’s Virginia Cavaliers are national champions. And the Philly-native is on track to be drafted in the NBA this summer.