AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Jonathan Holmes made a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer at the buzzer to send Texas to a 67-64 victory over No. 22 Kansas State on Tuesday night, the Longhorns’ fourth straight victory in the Big 12 and second in a row over a ranked team.
Texas had almost blown its chance for the game-winner when it nearly botched an inbounds pass with 3 seconds left. But after a quick timeout,Isaiah Taylor zipped the ball to Holmes in the left corner and he put up the shot over two defenders. The ball swished through the basket at the buzzer and Holmes was mobbed by his teammates.
Javan Felix scored 23 points to lead Texas (15-4, 4-2) and Cam Ridley scored 18. Holmes finished with eight points.
Thomas Gipson scored 24 points for Kansas State (14-5, 4-2), which had tied the game at 64 on Shane Southwell’s twisting, off-balance layup with 5 seconds to play after Felix had missed two free throws.
The Longhorns, a team with no expectations in the Big 12 when the season started, continue to build confidence and look more dangerous for the league heavyweights every week.
Holmes and Ridley have been a powerful combination in the run of victories, delivering both muscle and big shots when the Longhorns need them. Against Kansas State, Ridley was locked in a game-long tug-of-war under the basket with Gipson as those two pushed and shoved each on both ends of the court. Holmes scored six of his eight points in the second half.
Ridley had 12 points and five rebounds in the first half. Felix scored 10 in the half and put Texas ahead 36-30 with a floating bank shot with 1 minute left.
The Longhorns had a chance to push the lead to eight before Ridley was whistled for an offensive foul. Gipson kept the Wildcats within four with a layup as time expired.
Ridley picked up a second foul early in the second half and went to the bench for nearly 4 minutes. Gipson converted the three-point play and the Wildcats cut the lead to 40-39 when Gipson scored again. Ridley returned and quickly made a midrange jumper on his first touch, then denied Gipson a shot on the other end.
Kansas State grabbed its first lead of the second half at 52-49 when Southwell made two free throws and Wesley Iwundu made a fastbreak layup. Felix briefly restored Texas’ lead with a baseline floater — his first points in nearly 6 minutes, before Southwell made a 3-pointer that started a flurry of back-and-forth lead changes and ties.
Felix made two free throws to put Texas ahead 61-60 with just under 2 minutes left. Holmes made one of two before Felix made another off-balance baseline shot to make it 64-60.
The game looked headed to overtime after Southwell’s tying layup with 5 seconds left. Texas got the ball to midcourt and called a timeout.
On the inbounds the ball went to Demarcus Holland, who didn’t know what to do with it, forcing Texas to quickly call another timeout.
Given another chance, Taylor whipped the ball to Holmes for the final shot.
• Texas improves to 15-4 on the year and 4-2 in Big 12 Conference play.
• Texas has now won back-to-back games over AP Top 25 opponents for the first time since the 2010-11 season when it defeated No. 11 Missouri (Jan. 29, 2011) and won at No. 16 Texas A&M (Jan. 31, 2011).
• Jonathan Holmes‘ buzzer beater was the first buzzer beater since Julien Lewis‘ at Texas Tech on March 9, 2013 (:03 left in OT) and the first with only one second or less on the clock since Kenton Paulino’s at the NCAA Regional Semifinal in Atlanta, Ga. on March 23, 2006, against No. 22 West Virginia.
• The Longhorns are off to their best 19-game start to a season since 2010-11 (started 16-3). It marks the ninth time in the Rick Barnes era (last 16 years) that the Horns have opened the year with at least 15 wins in their first 19 contests (17-2 in 2009-10, 2005-06; 16-3 in 2003-04, 2007-08, 2010-11; 15-4 in 2000-01, 2002-03, 2004-05).
• The first half consisted of six ties and 14 lead changes until the Longhorns finished the half on a 7-2 run to give them the largest lead of the half for either team, 36-32. Texas shot 51.7 percent in the first half on 15-of-29 shooting.
• The Horns are averaging only nine turnovers per game over the last two contests.
• Reached double figures (23 points) in scoring for the 14th time this season and for the 23rd time in his career (53 games).
• His 23 points marked his second 20-point performance of the season and fourth of his career.
• Over the last three games, Felix is averaging 19.7 points per contest.
• Dished out a team-high five assists against just one turnover, shot 4-of-6 from the free throw line and grabbed seven boards.
• Assist-to-turnover ratio the last two games is 9-to-1.
• During Big 12 play, Holland is averaging 3.5 assists per game.
• Reached double figures in rebounding (10 rebounds) for the fifth time this season and eighth time in his career (81 games).
• Is averaging 9.7 rebounds over the last three games.
• Reached double figures in scoring (18 points) for the 11th time this season and for the 13th time in his career (52 games).
• Over the last three games, Ridley is averaging 15.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per contest.
Texas Head Coach Rick Barnes
On emotions running higher with a younger team: We’ve been in so many games like this one this year. They had so much to do with it. At the start of the game, they were operating close to the basket and setting deep ball screens on us. We missed some shots; we had some looks that we missed. A couple of key plays I thought were big: Prince’s block was huge and Damarcus Holland kept the ball alive a couple of different times.Martez Walker‘s play off the bench was huge. I just felt like we have got to stay on edge. Again, this is conference play, and we gave away some points in the first half. Cam had it, and he put the ball on the floor a couple of times tonight. We were just hesitant on offense, and we can’t be that way.
On confidence taken from this game: I’ve never lacked confidence in them. I’ve got great respect for Kansas State. We told our guys that they’re going to do what they do, and they never wavered tonight. They execute, they do what they do, but they’re going to execute. When you become a really good team, regardless of what people do, you do what you do. You might have to fight for it, grind it out, and tonight – from an execution standpoint – I thought they out-executed us in terms of what they were wanting to get done and what we were wanting to get done. We had some key plays there, and we still took a couple of shots that we shouldn’t have taken because we just got away from executing.
On safely saying Texas is a good team: I think we’ve been a good team from day one. I go back to our non-league games, we were in so many games like this and the guys have shown character. It’s obvious we have guys that are getting better. I don’t think there is one guy on our team that hasn’t improved, but there is a long way to go. I told our guys it’s simple. There are six teams in the Big 12 ranked in the AP Top 25, and we’re not one of them. If you don’t think this was important, you better think long and hard about it. I do think we have a confident group of guys, and I do love them, but my expectations for them are higher than theirs. I want them to have the same expectations that we do as a coaching staff.
Sophomore C Cameron Ridley
On his matchup with Kansas State’s Thomas Gipson: He was really good offensively, he knows how to use his body well. From this game I could probably learn a thing or two from the way he played. But, on our side, we really just tried to get him in foul trouble and give him problems so that I can have a similar game to him on offense. I just shot every shot I took with confidence, and they kept trusting me and throwing it back to me.
On how he is feeling with how he is currently playing: I am feeling good about the way I am playing right now. There are areas I can get better in, rebounding and playing better defense, but offensively I am very confident. Even if I get fouled, I know I am going to go to the free throw line and make my free throws.
Sophomore G Javan Felix
On his feelings when Holmes hit the game winner: When John hit the shot I was happy, first because we won the game, and obviously because I missed those two free throws. But, it is good we can get out with the win. It was a solid win for us going into the game Saturday (at Baylor), we just have to go out there then and play hard for another forty minutes.
On the confidence of the team right now: We talk about it everyday in practice. Coach tells us that when we step on the court, we feel like we can beat anybody and play with anybody. We definitely feel like that because we worked very hard during the week in practice, and just the way we approach the game. Whether it is in film, going over scouting reports, walking through plays, we just try really hard at everything. You know, that has been the main focus for us in conference.
Junior F Jonathan Holmes
On hitting the game winning shot: The first time we ran it, it was going to be a lollipop pass for Javan, which means I was going to screen and he was going to come back and try to get open in the corner, but Demarcus (Holland) called timeout. So, I knew since they were worried about Javan, my man was going to go with him, so I just slipped to the ball and I was open and made the shot.
On if this shot reminds him of his game winner last year against West Virginia: It was kind of the same play that we ran tonight, it was the lollipop and they switched players last year, so we did the same thing today.
On if this team feels that they can win the Big 12: Yes, I mean that is what we are playing for right now. I mean, this time last year we were 1-5 right now, or 0-5 or something like that, but right now we have put ourselves in a position to control our own destiny. So, we are taking it one game at a time, and like I said we are playing a good Baylor team this Saturday, so that’s what our focus is on right now.
K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber
Opening Statement: It was a good ball game. We have to give them credit for making plays down the stretch, especially the big shot by Holmes. They had us on the first timeout of bounce, they did a back screen-rescreen where Wesley got stuck and Thomas slipped out. They could have thrown it to Holmes to get a layup but they got a little impatient and threw it to the kid. He held it with I don’t know how much time left. You have to give Coach Barnes credit, they got a quick timeout and another opportunity. Then they ran the same play but this time with Holmes out. He popped out and made a good shot. They [Texas] are a good team. We knew that as a staff and our players knew that. They are definitely much more together this year than they were last year. They play really hard. The big guys have improved. Cameron [Ridley] has definitely improved from a year ago. They get to where they need to score. Felix scored big baskets down the stretch. He had a little stretch there where he took some tough shots but he came back in and made plays. We had our chances. Tonight we did not make enough plays when it counted. To win in this league, you have to be extra special. You will have to do all your stuff well. I did not think we did everything well. We gave them three of four opportunities on two possessions, it was fortunate for us that they kept missing but sooner or later they were going to grab the game which ended up happening.
On Kansas State’s close games this season: We have made a lot of plays in big stretches. They made some plays but they also did not make some plays, it goes back-and-forth. We had our opportunities. We have to do a better job down the stretch which is up to the staff. We have to make sure we do that on both ends of the court.
On the potential of Texas: They are close to being in the top 25. They are at Baylor next, that will be interesting, but they are capable of winning that match. It is going to be like this all year in this league – hard fought, you have protect home court and find a way to win road games.
On Cameron Ridley: He can score, obviously. He can score on both sides, over both shoulders. Seven-for-10 is pretty good. Last year it was dunks, you did not want to give him angles. This year he has vastly improved – he runs better, he moves quicker. There is not doubt that he is a much better player today than he was a year ago.
On Javan Felix: He is crafty, smart and little. He is a combo guard. He is their go to. He made that lean in on the glass which was huge for them.
Junior F Thomas Gipson
On Kansas State tonight: We really could not get stops. We were up by five but could not get stops when we needed them. It was tough. At the end of the game, we all fought hard to go into overtime but Felix made a tough shot. Good for him.
On Kansas State’s defense: Ridley and Felix did a good job today keeping them into the game. Our defense is good, we rely a lot of our defense but tonight it was not enough. We have to do better, especially at away games. At home we are good on defense but away we need an extra spark.
(Via UT Athletics)