Abilene Christian bounces Texas from NCAA Tournament with historic first round upset

Local Sports

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (KXAN) — Abilene Christian upset the Texas Longhorns in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night, sending Shaka Smart and the Big 12 Tournament champions to an early postseason exit.

Abilene Christian sent a shockwave through the state of Texas with the upset of the Longhorns in their second tournament appearance. The Wildcats only became a Division I basketball program in 2013.

ACU’s Joe Pleasant, a 58.8% free throw shooter this season, hit two free throws with 1.2 seconds to deliver the massive 53-52 upset over the Longhorns. Brock Cunningham’s last-second, inbound heave resulted in Texas’ 23rd turnover of the night to end the game.

The 23 turnovers is the most for Texas basketball in eight years, according to CBS Sports.

This is the 22nd time in the modern era of the NCAA Tournament that the No. 14 seed has upset a No. 3 seed.

Andrew Jones hit a 3-pointer with 14.6 seconds remaining to give Texas a 52-51 lead. On Abilene Christian’s last offensive possession, Kai Jones blocked ACU’s shot attempt, but Pleasant gathered the loose ball and was fouled by Matt Coleman.

Abilene Christian also dominated on the offensive glass, outrebounding the Longhorns 19-5.

With the combination of offensive rebounds and turnovers, ACU had 27 more shot attempts than Texas.

What’s next for Texas?

Smart is still without an NCAA Tournament win in six seasons at Texas. His three first round losses with the Longhorns have come in excruciating fashion.

Texas lost on a half court buzzer beater to Northern Iowa in 2016, allowed a late comeback against Nevada in 2018 and were upset by Abilene Christian. Overall, Smart hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game in his last five appearances (2013 with VCU).

This may have been the final college game for several Longhorns. Matt Coleman, Courtney Ramey, Andrew Jones, Jericho Sims and Greg Brown are expected to consider their professional basketball prospects.

This was Texas’ year to make a run with an experienced roster and excellent guard play.

The Longhorns accomplished some firsts this season, winning the program’s first Big 12 Tournament championship last week. However, Saturday’s loss makes the season look like a failure.

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