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

Longhorns bounce back, hold on for crucial win

Lorianne Willett
Chendall Weaver is smacked in the face by Kansas State’s Dai Dai Ames during Texas’ game against the Wildcats on Feb. 19, 2024.

The Longhorns, with a blowout loss to Houston fresh on their mind, were desperate for a win. A 12-point lead with less than four minutes to play would point to a victory, but in this season nothing has been a sure thing and sure enough, Texas saw its edge shaved to four with under a minute.

Texas, however, in a must-win spot, held on, picking up a pivotal 62-56 win over Kansas State to stay alive and kicking as its final year of Big 12 play winds down. Despite struggling down the stretch yet again, mainly due to some poor crunch-time free throw shooting, Texas did just enough to scratch out a win and finds itself on the right side of the tournament bubble with five regular season games to go.

“We definitely feel like every game going forward for us is an NCAA Tournament game, every game the committee is going to look at our resumé whether or not we can get in,” graduate forward Dylan Disu said. “So we want to treat every game like it’s our last game and if we lose we’re out of the tournament. So that’s kind of the attitude we had going into tonight.”

The Longhorns put together their best defensive effort thus far in conference play, holding the Wildcats to 35.7% from the field and surviving an offensive dud in which they shot just 36.2%. Texas’ defense, both in closing out to shooters and protecting the rim, was leagues ahead of where it was against Houston, and the Longhorns rode it to victory.

“I thought tonight we did a good job of really not letting our offense affect our defense,” Texas head coach Rodney Terry said. “When we got stagnant a little bit on offense, we still came down and guarded and finished possessions with block outs, and didn’t give up second-chance points. I thought that was a big difference and I thought again, Tyrese (Hunter) was a big part of that.”

Despite a rough night percentage-wise, junior guard Tyrese Hunter offered Texas a spark on both ends in the second half, aggressively defending Kansas State’s guards and chipping in a much-needed six points to keep the Longhorns ahead.

Texas limped into halftime up 27-22 following a slugfest of a first half, punctuated by a scoreless final four minutes for the Longhorns. Both squads shot just 10-of-31 from the floor through 20 minutes and combined for 3-of-22 from long range.

Where some games for Texas have been a tale of two halves, it was more of the same heading into the second half. The Longhorns came out sputtering offensively but managed to keep the Wildcats without a field goal for the first four minutes and cling to a slim lead. Kansas State cut Texas’ edge to two shortly thereafter, but the Longhorns’ defense settled in and the Wildcats would never get any closer.

Graduate guard Max Abmas entered the contest seven points shy of 3000 career points, becoming the 12th player in men’s Division I basketball to do so in the second half. 

“I think it’s something I’ll appreciate more when I finish playing, super grateful for it, but the important thing was the team win tonight,” Abmas said. “A game that we needed, you know, protected the home court, so build off this and continue to get better.”

Abmas struggled overall, posting just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting and nearly making a costly turnover in the final minutes. The Longhorns found a way to win on a night where he failed to make a three which is an encouraging development, but Abmas shot 5-of-24 in his past two games and will need to find his groove to give his team a chance with the postseason fast approaching.

Graduate forward Dylan Disu led Texas’ scoring effort with 20 points, 10 of which came from the free throw line. He added eight rebounds, three steals and a block in an all-around effort in which he was solid defensively as Texas’ center.

It wasn’t pretty, but with the win the Longhorns showed resiliency and took a big stride towards a March Madness berth, improving to 3–4 at home in Big 12 play. Texas will take to the road for another big-time matchup with Kansas on Saturday.

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About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.