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AUSTIN — Kai Jones and Jase Febres were both ruled out due to injury with 11:46 remaining in the game. Jericho Sims, who didn’t factor Saturday versus Texas Tech, fouled out with 3:17 left after only posting two points in 19 minutes.
Texas’ chances to win versus Texas Tech and maintain its NCAA Tournament hopes came down to Matt Coleman’s performance during crunch time. But in the final round, Texas Tech’s TJ Holyfield knocked out any Horns hopes at a win.
Coleman drove to the basket down one with 27 seconds left in the game. It was blocked by Holyfield. He drove to the basket down one with 16 seconds left. It was blocked by Holyfield. Coleman drove to the basket down three with nine seconds left. It was blocked by Holyfield.
Final score: Texas Tech 62, Texas 57.
“Just got to execute better down the stretch,” Coleman said. “I take ownership in that.”
His ownership of the game wasn’t limited to just the final minute. It lasted the entire game. Aside from Andrew Jones’ contributions, Texas looked to Coleman to be the catalyst of the offense possession after possession.
He ended with 17 points, seven rebounds, and three assists over 39 minutes, but the last three possessions soured a performance where Coleman scored his 1,000th point at Texas.
Coleman appeared prepared for this game, but Sims’ performance hearkened back to his freshman season when Texas coach Shaka Smart had to work to draw any sort of emotion, fire, and active play out of him. Sims scored his only two points from the line and attempted just two field goals all game.
When he turned to help from others over the last few minutes, it wasn’t there. Texas scored six points in the last five minutes. Coleman was 2-of-2 before Holyfield blocked his last three shots, and Courtney Ramey was 1-of-3 from distance in the game’s waning moments.
“It’s a gut punch, for sure,” Smart said.
On the opposite end, Texas Tech scored 12 in the last five minutes as Red Raider fans in the Erwin Center grew louder and louder, eventually drowning out noise from Texas fans in their home arena.
The Longhorns zoomed out to a 14-point advantage at the first half under-four mark and took a 12-point lead into half. Andrew Jones added 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Kai Jones started in Hepa’s place and added four points before he went down with an ankle injury in the second half. Hepa was thrown into crucial minutes likely earlier than Smart would have wanted, but Texas is in a position at this point in the season where Hepa’s contributions were needed.
However, in the second half, Texas Tech attacked Hepa off the dribble and were able to amass 10 points in the paint against a limited front line with Sims and Kai Jones out and undersized Royce Hamm playing in the post.
In addition, the Red Raiders hit three more three-pointers in the second half than they hit in the first half. They ended with three in total.
After scoring just 19 points in the first half, the Red Raiders scored 43 in the second. On the opposite end, Texas scored 31 in the first 20 before scoring 26 in the second half.
TTU’s Jahmi’us Ramsey, Terrence Shannon, and Kyler Edwards all added double-figure scoring.
Texas hosts Baylor this Monday.