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Texas 87, Arizona State 85

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Updated 12 months ago on
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MILWAUKEE — Talk about saving the best for last.

After three runaway games Thursday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Texas and Arizona State went down to the wire, avoiding overtime when center Cameron Ridley tipped in the game-winner as time expired, giving the Longhorns an 87-85 victory.

“We found a way,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said.

The seventh-seeded Longhorns led 61-47 after two free throws by Holmes, but the 10th-seeded Sun Devils rallied, scoring 17 of the next 22 points. Arizona State finally tied the score at 80 on guard Jermaine Marshall’s 3-pointer with 3:18 left.

Offensive rebounds were huge for Texas during the final stretch.

Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski hit the second of two free throws to give his team an 81-80 lead with 2:20 to play, but Ridley converted his own rebound into a tip-in that put the Longhorns back up by a point.

A Bachynski dunk gave the Sun Devils the lead again, but when Longhorns guard Javan Felix missed on a 3-pointer, Texas forward Jonathan Holmes grabbed the rebound and put it in — while drawing a foul on forward Jonathan Gilling — to give the Longhorns another one-point lead.

After an Arizona State timeout, Holmes completed the three-point play, and Texas led by two with 32 seconds left.

Gilling tied the game by sinking two free throws with 16 seconds left, but Arizona State wouldn’t get the ball back. Texas worked the clock and got the ball to Holmes, who tried a 3-pointer from the corner that caught the rim.

Again, Ridley was there to clean things up. He let go of the final shot just before the horn sounded.

“I expected him to make it, but I still went to the glass as hard as I could,” Ridley said. “The ball came to me, so I tried to get it up as quick as I possibly could.”

Officials reviewed the play and confirmed he got it off in time.

“That’s a tough way to end the game … it’s tough way to end my career,” Bachynski said. “Most rebounds come long, so I was playing for that. It bounced, and my man read the ball better than I did.”

Ridley finished with a team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds. Texas guard Demarcus Holland went 6-for-6 from the field and scored 14 points.

Holmes and guards Isaiah Taylor and Felix each added 11 points for Texas, which faces second-seeded Michigan in the third round Saturday. The winner advances to the Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis.

“That was a great, great college basketball game,” Barnes said. “We were fortunate. We didn’t have great execution at the end, but we found a way to make a couple of plays.”

Bachynski led Arizona State with 25 points. Guard Jahii Carson scored 19, Marshall had 17, and Gilling hit four 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.

“You have to credit both teams for shooting the ball very well tonight,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. “Guys made shots, and sometimes they made challenged shots.”

The Longhorns hit 53.4 percent of their attempts from the floor, while the Sun Devils shot 48.2 percent.

The lead changed hands six times in the first half. Texas was up by as many as nine after guard Martez Walker sank a 3-pointer with 10:14 left. The Sun Devils came right back and used an 8-0 run to get within two on forward Shaquielle McKissic’s layup with 5:07 left before halftime.

Arizona State trailed 41-36 at the break.

NOTES: Texas is back in the NCAA Tournament this season after failing to earn an invitation in 2013, snapping a streak of 14 consecutive years under head coach Rick Barnes. … Thursday marked the fifth meeting between the teams but the first since 1999, during a holiday tournament in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The Longhorns are 4-1 in the all-time series. … The Sun Devils earned their first trip to the tournament since 2009 and their fifth since 1981.

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