college basketball

Texas Stunner: No. 14 Abilene Christian Ousts ‘Horns 53-52

Coryon Mason #20 of the Abilene Christian Wildcats attempts a lay up against the Brock Cunningham #30 of the Texas Longhorns during the second half in the first round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 20, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Abilene Christian and its frantic, havoc-causing defense sent Shaka Smart and Texas out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round yet again as the 14th-seeded Wildcats stunned the third-seeded Longhorns 53-52 on Saturday night.

Joe Pleasant, a 58.8% foul shooter on the season, made a pair of free throws with 1.2 seconds left as the Wildcats shocked their in-state rivals in the first meeting ever between the two schools.

The Wildcats caused all kinds of headaches for the bigger, more talented Longhorns all night and got just enough offense to pull off their first NCAA Tournament victory in their second appearance.

Pleasant finished with 11 points as did Coryon Mason for the Wildcats. Abilene Christian will face No. 11 seed UCLA in the second round on Monday.

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Andrew Jones scored 13 points for Texas (23-5) and was nearly the hero. Jones hit two free throws with 56 seconds left and his 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining put the Longhorns in front 52-51.

ACU had one more chance. Damien Daniels drove to the basket but was blocked by Kai Jones. Pleasant was first to get his hands on the rebound and Matt Coleman III was called for a foul, causing Smart to drop to his knees on the sideline.

After a timeout, Pleasant calmly hit both free throws. Then he intercepted a final desperation pass by Texas at midcourt, turning it into the Longhorns' 23rd turnover of the game and setting off a wild celebration that spilled off the court.

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