Texas Basketball: Longhorns' upset against Kansas bid comes up short
Led by a big first half and 20 points from Jericho Sims, Texas pushed No. 6 Kansas for most of the game before finally succumbing to the high-powered Jayhawk offense in a 66-57 loss at home.
"They made more plays than us," Texas' Courtney Ramey said. "We've got to grow from it."
Kansas' Marcus Garrett scored five-straight points and Devon Dotson drilled a huge 3-pointer with 2:50 to go in the game to spark the defining 8-0 Jayhawk run that turned a tied game into a 62-54 lead and all but seal the win.
"Their guards outplayed our guards here today," Texas head coach Shaka Smart said.
Texas came out firing thanks to a strong start from Sims. The Longhorn junior scored the two points of the game for the Longhorns on a rattling dunk to set the tone. He added a jumper just a minute later, giving him the first two field goals.
After a Kansas run made it 17-13 Jayhawks, the Longhorns reclaimed the lead on back-to-back 3-pointers from Andrew Jones. After an empty Kansas possession, he added a long two-point jumper to extend the Texas lead to 21-17.
A pair of scores from the paint from Sims and a 3-pointer from Jase Febres helped Texas extend its lead to 30-22 with 1:39 to go in the first half and take a 31-26 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Down at the break, Kansas turned to its frontcourt in the second half, pressing its advantage in the paint. Udoka Azubuike scored three of the Jayhawks' first four field goals to help spark an 8-0 run and give Kansas a 34-33 lead with 16:27 to go in the game.
The Jayhawks would push their advantage to as many as five before Texas made what would be its final run at the lead with 7:11 to go in the game. Gerald Liddell scored on a fast break, then Matt Coleman hit a 3-pointer. After a Kansas basket from Devon Dotson, Sims hit scored on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 54-54 with 4:50 on the clock and send the crowd at Frank Erwin center into a frenzy.
Unfortunately for Texas, it would be as close as it would get to a massive home upset and what would have been a third-straight Longhorn victory.
Dotson led all scorers with 21 points. Azubuike added 17 for the Jayhawks. Coleman was the only other Longhorn in double figures with 10 points.
Sims held his own in an intense battle with Azubuike, earning praise from the Jayhawks' coach.
"I think he's the best athlete in our league," Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Sims himself downplayed the performance a bit.
"I looked forward to it because he's a good player, but in the end, it comes down to five-on-five basketball," Sims said.