Texas’ dance ends in the Elite Eight to the hands of Miami, Jordan Miller

Payne Williams, Sports Desk Editor

No. 2-seed Texas’ run finally came to an end on Sunday in a 88–81 loss to No. 5-seed Miami in the Elite Eight. The loss in Kansas City marks the Longhorns’ first since March 1 and the final game for departing seniors Marcus Carr, Timmy Allen, Christian Bishop and Sir’Jabari Rice. Forward Dylan Disu has a year left of eligibility but could declare for the NBA Draft.

Both the Longhorns and Hurricanes shot at a high mark, but it was Miami’s hands that proved true in a second half littered with free throws. The Longhorn offense was humming early on Sunday as the team continued its next-man-up mentality with Disu out with an injury, but Texas hit a wall late into the second half.

Texas led by as much as 13 with 13 minutes remaining, but Miami outscored the Longhorns 28–11 in the final nine minutes of regulation. The Hurricanes shot 27 free throws in the second half compared to Texas’ 10 attempts, helping them to 51 points in the second half.

Miami took a similar method of victory in its win in the first round over Drake. The Hurricanes met the line 29 times in that first round matchup, converting 23 shots.

Miami and Texas went to the line just five times each in the first half compared to 37 total trips in the second. The Hurricanes also focused on interior scoring which came easier with the absence of Disu as they outscored Texas 34–28 in the paint.

“Miami really started trying to get downhill,” Texas head coach Rodney Terry said. “They started putting their heads down, going one-on-one a little bit … and really did a good job of getting into the paint and getting to the foul line.”

Hurricanes senior guard Jordan Miller was unstoppable and perfect in the second half, shooting 12-for-12 on free throws and perfect from the field on his way to a game-high 27 points. Miller’s performance is the first since 1992 where a player scored at least 27 points on perfect shooting from the floor and free throw line.

The Longhorns shot well for the majority of the game, scoring 45 points in the first half and jumping to a double-digit lead in the second, but it wasn’t enough to pace with Miami. The Hurricanes shot a lights-out 59% from the field over the game, and when Texas hit a scoring wall, Miami cruised by with just a few minutes left.

Texas’ versatility wasn’t enough to overcome Miami late in the game. Several Longhorns added their name to the scorecard in the first half, but that effort faltered as the game went on.

Just three Longhorns scored in the double digits against Miami: Allen, Rice and Carr, who led the team with 17 points. Five Hurricanes, led by Miller, scored 10 or more.

The loss prevents Texas from seeing its first Final Four since 2003. The team is now set to lose at least four of its six leading scorers, and there’s uncertainty about the future of its head coach. 

“I enjoyed every single day of this journey with this group,” Terry said. “I’m gonna really miss working with this group. It was never about me, it was always about these guys. I love these guys.”