Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas wins first-ever Big 12 tournament championship

Denny Medley - DM101129
Courtesy of Texas Athletics

The Texas men’s basketball team was crowned Big 12 tournament champions with a 91-86 victory over No. 12 Oklahoma State in Saturday’s championship game.

At the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri, career nights from seniors Matt Coleman and Jericho Sims lifted No. 13 Texas to the program’s first-ever Big 12 tournament championship.

“I just cried. It was just like tears of joy,” Coleman said.

Coleman, who recorded a career-high 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting, stepped up once again for the Longhorns when they needed it most. The senior guard’s career night adds to the lengthy legacy Coleman has built up throughout his four-year run at Texas.

His relationship with head coach Shaka Smart goes back years. Tonight’s championship provided the final realization of the work the coach and player have put into each other for many years.

“I said, ‘Coach, this is what we've been saying since day one. You know, it took four years to make it happen, to take a step in the right direction man, and so you did this — you built the culture here,’” Coleman said. “I can’t even explain it. Nobody knows how much it means for myself and for coach (Smart) … I’m glad we have something to show for it.”

Senior forward Jericho Sims continued his torrid March, notching his fourth double-double on the season with 21 points and 14 rebounds. 

“Nobody from Texas has done this before,” Sims said. “We're just happy to be the first and just all the hard work that we put into this allowed us to get to this point. So we're very proud of ourselves.”

Redshirt sophomore forward Brock Cunningham provided an extra spark for the Longhorns as he has all season. Cunningham recorded seven points and eight rebounds in his 26 minutes on the court.

“When (Cunningham) has that look of the ultimate warrior, that guy’s gonna play heavy minutes for us,” Smart said. “I don’t care who else we have on our team.”

Smart made a notable change in the starting lineup heading into tonight's championship game, replacing freshman forward Greg Brown with sophomore forward Kai Jones.

Jones relished in his starting role. The forward burst out of the gate with nine points in the first six minutes. He ended with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting before it was all said and done.

“I’m always ready when my number is called,” Jones said. “I was glad coach (Smart) trusted me tonight to do that, so I was ready to go.”

In his sixth year as head coach, Smart ended Texas’ 0–6 run in the Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship game and has the team poised to make noise in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

“This is a gift to everyone, whether they’ve supported us or not,” Smart said. “The most important thing is our guys stayed connected, and I'm just happy that they get to experience this feeling.”

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About the Contributor
Matthew Boncosky, Sports Editor
Matthew is a senior studying journalism and previously covered football, men’s basketball, volleyball and swimming and diving. He is the "undisputed" ping pong champion of the basement.
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Texas wins first-ever Big 12 tournament championship