When examining the sum of Texas Tech’s season, consider the tale of the person who made their final shot. 

Adonis Arms, so aptly named for his length and strength, spent his entire collegiate career working to get to the stage he was on Thursday night. Two years at a junior college, one at a Division II, and one year as a reserve at a mid-major before he had the chance to be a starter in the Sweet 16, against a blue blood opponent and a Hall of Fame coach trying to keep his career alive for at least one more game.

With 13 seconds left, after a slight hesitation, he pulled up from 3-point range and drilled the shot. It brought Texas Tech within two points of Duke; it ended up being the Red Raiders final basket of the season. Duke 78, Texas Tech 73.

March Madness, at its core, is about stories, and by the time Sweet 16 began, Arms had become one of the best ones. When the college chapter of it ended on Thursday night, Arms was asked to wrap it up — to give it the final word it craved.

“I think the legacy that I left for myself is it’s what I started with when I started to play basketball is never quit, never give up, and believe in God first,” Arms said. “That’s always going to be my legacy. I think that’s what I left here at Texas Tech.”

Arms was speaking about himself, but his words could’ve been used to describe so many others on his team. How about a 65-year-old west Texas native, who spent his entire coaching career — including a hiatus from the industry — working to be the head coach at his alma mater, only to come up five points short in an attempt to end Mike Krzyzewski’s incredible coaching career.

“In my opinion we got the best coach in college basketball to my right,” Arms said, looking at Texas Tech coach Mark Adams.

Or how about the player to Arms’ left at the postgame press conference, Senior Bryson Williams, a transfer who went from Fresno State, to UTEP, to being Texas Tech’s leading scorer this season.

“I would say individually the legacy I was trying to leave here is that if there’s anything you want to do, you got to work for it, and you got to go get it,” said Williams, who had a team-high 21 points against Duke, “and that’s what I love so much about Coach Adams. He is the same way.”

This offseason, when Adams took over after the departure of Chris Beard to Texas, the first-year coach was seeking for players that embodied that mentality. He had only five returners from last year’s team, which made it to the Round of 32, and needed to restock his deck with transfers. He found Williams, he found Arms, he found Davion Warren — whose story is similar to Arms — and he found Kevin Obanor, who now has six double-doubles in six career NCAA Tournament games after last night.

“I think simply put, we just had a team that exceeded all expectations,” Adams said.

It was an emotional night for the Red Raiders, including Adams. At halftime in the previous tournament game against Notre Dame, Adams yelled at his players, exclaiming that he didn’t want that night to be the last with that specific team — his first as a head coach. He didn’t want to say goodbye.

On Thursday night, he had to.

“I’m so thankful that I was able to coach these guys and the rest of them on this team. Just very special. I’m just so sad that we have to see this season come to an end because we want to keep — we want to keep playing,” Adams said softly. “We just love competing together, and we love being in the same foxhole and going out and fighting together.”

But life in college basketball goes on. Terrence Shannon Jr., a player who tested the NBA waters before coming back to Texas Tech, plans to enter the transfer portal, according to CBS Sports. Obanor and McCullar will have decisions to make. Williams and Arms are done.

But the Red Raiders will return Adams, who Arms believes is the key to the future in Lubbock.

“I would say we left that the culture works,” Arms said. “That if you believe in what Coach Adams says every single day and you take it to heart and you fight every single game, you’re going to be in every single game.”

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