MANHATTAN, Kan. — In a performance Texas men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart said amounted to his team “learning out to win again, junior guard Andrew Jones scored a game-high 24 points to lead the No. 13 Longhorns to an 80-77 win Tuesday at Kansas State.
The victory bumped the Longhorns’ record to 12-5 overall, and 6-4 in games against Big 12 opponents, and ended their three-game losing streak. The Wildcats stumbled to 5-16 overall, and just 1-11 in Big 12 games.
“It’s a lot of adversity that we’ve fought through the last month,” Jones said. “We had to come back together. This was a great momentum booster for us. Fix a lot of the internal issues that we had, as far as chemistry-wise, and as soon as we start playing that brand of basketball that we were playing at the beginning of the year, I feel like we’re going to take big leap.”
Forward Greg Brown scored 17 points and guard Courtney Ramey added 13 for Texas.
Freshman guard Nijel Pack led Kansas State with 22 points, followed by guard Mike McGuirl, who added 18 points and missed a half-court heave in an attempt to tie the game in the game’s final seconds.
Jones shot 8-of-14 from the floor, including 4-of-7 three-pointers, and drained all four of his free throw attempts. But the Longhorns’ most efficient offensive threat was Brown, who shot 6-of-8 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, and added seven rebounds, which trailed only the nine pulled down by forward Jericho Sims.
“I think this was one of his better games,” Smart said of Brown. “I just think he really played with poise, he really had the look of a guy that was playing efficiently. He rebounded the ball well. [It] obviously helps that he made those shots — I thought his last three was just a huge shot for us.”
Led by Jones and Brown, Texas hit a season-high 13 three-pointers on 26 attempts (50.0 percent), including a run of six straight from long range to start the game. KSU also was effective from long range, connecting on 9 of 22 (40.9 percent) from outside the arc.
In a statistical coincidence that helps explain the close result, each team hit 26 of 51 (51.0 percent) field goals in the game.
The win gave Texas a sweep of the season series with Kansas State, which lost to the Horns, 82-67, Jan. 16 at the Frank Erwin Center. The victory came exactly a month after UT’s last victory over any team other than K-State — a 72-70 win Jan. 9 at West Virginia.
UT will host TCU at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Erwin Center in game that will be carried on Longhorn Network.