The Texas Longhorns basketball season came to an abrupt end on Saturday night when they were upset by the Abilene Christian Wildcats 53-52 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“We were the worst DI team in the country,” ACU coach Joe Golding said, reflecting on the Wildcats’ program-build, “and we just beat the University of Texas."
It was a disappointing end to a chaotic season for the Longhorns after they won 11 of their previous 12 games, including their first-ever Big 12 Tournament championship.
The Longhorns got off to a good start on Saturday, leading 28-23 heading into the locker room at halftime. Unfortunately, turnovers and mistakes doomed them in the second half, causing the well to dry, as they mustered just 24 points in the final 20 minutes.
For the game, Texas shot 45-percent from the floor, including 31-percent from three. However, it was 24 aforementioned turnovers, as well as Abilene Christian's 39-32 advantage on the boards, that made the difference in the game.
Texas was able to take a brief lead off of an Andrew Jones three with 16 seconds ago, but yet another mistake towards the end of regulation ultimately doomed their chances, when senior Matt Coleman committed a defensive foul, leading the winning free throws for the Wildcats.
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Jones led the Longhorns in scoring with just 13 points, while big men Kai Jones and Jericho Sims followed up with 11 points and 10 points respectively.
Sims also ended the game with 10 rebounds and three blocks, capping his Texas career with yet another impressive performance.
With the loss, the Horns now move forward into the offseason with substantial turnover on the horizon -- including the loss of Sims, Coleman, and possibly freshman standout Greg Brown, as well as the aforementioned Jones.
Either way, it is yet another abrupt ending, to yet another ultimately disappointing season in the Shaka Smart era in Austin.
And for ACU?
“Little ol’ Abilene Christian out in west Texas built a program and went toe to toe with Texas,” Golding said. “It’s an incredible story.”
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