INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (KXAN) — It was a stunning night for the Texas Longhorns basketball program.
No. 3 seed Texas made NCAA Tournament history, losing to No. 14 Abilene Christian 53-52 in the first round Saturday night. The Longhorns, who one week ago celebrated a Big 12 Tournament championship, are out in the round of 64 for the third straight time under Shaka Smart.
This is the 22nd time in the modern era of the NCAA Tournament that the No. 14 seed has upset a No. 3 seed.
Here’s what Smart and senior guard Matt Coleman said after the game.
“Congratulations to Abilene Christian, they played terrific, made some huge plays, phenomenal on the defensive end all night long. Really feel for our guys because up until tonight we had a great season. This is one of the facts of the NCAA season…one team gets to stay and one team gets to go home.”
Reasons for turnover troubles
“A lot of it was their defense. They lead the country in turnovers. We certainly could’ve done a much better job being sound with the ball but they deserve a ton of credit with the way they forced turnovers.”
Were you surprised by the nerves?
“I wasn’t surprised by our guys being nervous early in the game. It’s typically the case in your first NCAA Tournament game. I really felt like we’d settle in but we weren’t able to sustain (the lead). Matt [Coleman] obviously it wasn’t his night. Just one too many turnovers tonight.”
Overall feeling of the team
“A lot of tears in the locker room right now. A lot of guys extremely upset with the way the game ended. We have to go home now. Really disappointed, everybody is. I told our guys…I thought coming into this tournament…the way that they handled the things thrown our way all year long. A lot of things that could’ve made people crack or quit…they stayed together. Tonight, we didn’t play our best and Abilene Christian deserves the credit.”
Did Texas overlook ACU?
“I don’t think our guys overlooked ACU. I do think we got in the game…there was some nerves early. It felt like we were settling in when we went up nine but we didn’t respond with the poise that we needed to respond with. The best teams find a way to get beyond that. The guys kept fighting and there we are with a lead in the last second. A big difference was the 18 offensive rebounds they got.”
Lack of offensive rebounds
“We were just trying to play to win. Same thing we do every game. 18 offensive rebounds was a big difference maker throughout the game. The last play…if we wrap up the rebound, we end the possession and probably win the game. 12 second chance points and we did not offensive rebound well. They got more shots than us because of our turnovers and offensive rebounds.”
Overall thoughts on the season
“Extremely disappointing because we earned a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament. I said to the team…you guys don’t understand how hard that is to do that and we earned that. Now, we have to make the most of it and we didn’t do that. It’s really disappointing. I really felt like before this game and during this game…sometimes you have to just find a way to come away with a win. This has been a unique couple weeks for us and we didn’t play our best.”
Thoughts on the season
“Just my guys and what just happened. I enjoyed every second and every minute of it and it didn’t end the way I wanted to end it.”
Feeling after the loss
“It just doesn’t feel real. I feel like I’m about to wake up from a bad dream.”
On ACU’s performance
“You expected that. It’s March, they’re in the tournament for a reason. I expected to get their best shot. Playing with a loose mentality. The ball didn’t fall in our favor today.”
Surprised by first half nerves?
“I wasn’t surprised. It was going to happen. I think we fought. We just made too many mistakes in a make or miss game.”
On the final play
“It was a loose ball. We both went for it and he got to the ball first and he threw it up. The ref called a foul so I guess it was a foul.”
Overall thoughts on the season
“It was exciting. We had our highs and we had our lows. I feel like I failed my team. The expectations that I set for my team…I feel like I failed it.”
On Shaka Smart’s job status at Texas
“They’re not in the locker room everyday. He built the culture here. He’s not in the game. His guys didn’t play to their skillset. It’s not on him. I failed.”