AUSTIN, Texas — That was not how Shaka Smart drew it up.
After Matt Coleman hit one of two free throws to give the Longhorns a two-point lead, the Kansas Jayhawks still had a chance. Guard Jalen Wilson raced up the left side of the floor, and suddenly the Texas defense opened up, leaving a lane through which Wilson could have walked to the basket. He blew past a pair of Longhorn defenders on his way to the would-be tying lay-up … and promptly lost the ball out of bounds. Texas forward Kai Jones a free throw, Wilson clanged a free throw off the front of the rim, and the No. 14/16 Longhorns escaped with a 75-72 victory over the No. 17/19 Jayhawks at the Frank Erwin Center.
The victory improved the Longhorns’ record to 14-6 overall, and an 8-5 mark against Big 12 teams, while KU dropped to 17-8 overall, and 11-6 in conference games. The win also gave UT a season sweep of the Jayhawks; Texas hammered Kansas, 84-59, Jan. 2 in Lawrence, Kan.
The Longhorns only got to overtime after mounting a strong comeback in the second half. The Jayhawks hit 48.5 percent of their shots in the first half, and led, 43-32, at the intermission. KU’s offensive success was magnified by the job it did on the defensive end: the Longhorns connected on 33.3 percent of their field goals, including an ice-cold 1-of-13 (7.7 percent) performance from behind the three-point line.
The second half was a reversal of the first. The Longhorns outscored their guests, 34-23, and shot 40.7 percent in the second stanza, including a slightly-better 4-of-13 shooting from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Kansas offense cooled off, as KU shot just 29.6 percent in the second half.
Guard Courtney, who played a game-high 44 minutes, Ramey led five Longhorns scoring in double figures. Guard Andrew Jones and forward Greg Brown scored 13 points apiece, Coleman finished with 11 and forward Kai Jones added 10.
The stats were predictably close in a game in which the lead changed hands seven times and the teams were tied 11 times.
That Texas was able to win the game despite being outshot, 40.0-37.7 percent, was a result of one statistical difference: the Longhorns dominated the Jayhawks on the glass, with a 50-38 edge in rebounding. Four UT players almost matched the entire Kansas roster: Andrew Jones led the Longhorns with 10 boards, followed by Coleman, with 9, and Sims and Kai Jones with eight rebounds each. Not coincidentally, Texas enjoyed a critical 12-7 advantage in second-chance points.
In response to the slew of games around the conference that have been postponed either because of COVID-19 issues within assorted programs, or because of the winter weather that gripped much of the region over the last couple of weeks, the Big 12 has announced 12 games that will be played during the week of March 1-7. Three of those games include the Texas Longhorns.
The Longhorns were supposed to finish out the regular season with a home game at 11 a.m. Saturday against Texas Tech. That game still will be played, but a trio of games have been added after that:
Tuesday, March 2 (6 p.m.): Texas at Iowa State (originally scheduled Jan. 20)
Big 12 Now/ESPN+
Thursday, March 4 (time TBA): Texas at Oklahoma (originally scheduled Feb. 18)
ESPN or ESPN2
Sunday, March 7 (time TBA): Texas at TCU (originally scheduled Jan. 23)
Big 12 Now/ESPN+