Palm Springs
82° F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy

Plan B works as Texas tops K-State

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jan 21 2014 09:41:59 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 21 2014 10:30:03 PM CST
basketball on court

iStock / 33ft

AUSTIN -

With the game tied, with two seconds to go, the desperation plan was for Texas Longhorns guard Javan Felix to take the last shot against Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday night.

It was an obvious strategy -- Felix was hot, with 23 points. Kansas State figured out Texas' plans, too.

That's why there was a plan B in forward Jonathan Holmes.

As Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson dashed toward Felix, Holmes took the inbounds pass, turned around and had just long enough to set his feet and launch a three-point attempt from the baseline. It went through the net as the buzzer blared, giving the Longhorns a 67-64 win over Kansas State and UT's second straight victory over a nationally ranked team.

"I just caught it and shot it," Holmes said.

The resurging Longhorns, who missed last year's NCAA tournament, upped their record to 15-4 and 4-2 in Big 12 Conference play. K-State dropped to 14-5 and 4-2. As conference play approaches the midway point of the season, there are four teams in the Big 12 grouped together with two losses. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State join the Longhorns and the Wildcats, with all chasing Kansas, which has yet to lose in Big 12 play.

Holmes, UT's leading scorer for the season, had been quiet for much of the game. With two minutes to go, he'd scored only four points, nine below his average. He was coming off a 23-point performance in Saturday's home win over Iowa State.

But in the game's final two minutes, Holmes scored four points, with two rebounds and a steal.

Kansas State guard Shane Southwell tied the game at 64 with five seconds to go. Texas called timeout a second later to set up what UT coach Rick Barnes thought would be one final shot.

The Longhorns inbounded the pass, but guard Demarcus Holland quickly called timeout. Kansas State coach Bruce Weber acknowledged in his post-game comments that the Longhorns missed the fact that Holmes was open for a layup.

Barnes told his team to try the same play. This time Holmes was open on the baseline.

"I guess he just popped out and made a good shot," Weber said of Holmes, who is a 39 percent shooter from 3-point range.

Gipson tried to help out with Felix and left Holmes alone. It was one of the few mistakes he made. Gipson led all scorers with 24 points on 10 of 18 shooting.

The game was tight all night, with 11 ties and 20 lead changes. K-State's biggest lead was three points. UT at one point owned a six point cushion. Each team missed free throws in the final 15 seconds.

It all made for a dramatic ending.

"The two teams played really hard, really physical," Barnes said. "It was a real clean game. Baskets were hard to come by."

NOTES: The Longhorns notched consecutive victories over ranked teams for the first time since the 2010-11 season. That year, UT beat No. 11 Missouri at home and 16th-ranked Texas A&M on the road. ... UT C Cameron Ridley had posted consecutive double doubles coming into Tuesday's game, with a combined 28 points and 23 rebounds, shooting 72.2 percent from the field. He didn't get a third double-double. Ridley scored 18 against the Wildcats, but had only six rebounds. He was in foul trouble late, which limited his defense. He fouled out with less than two minutes to play. ... Texas had only eight turnovers in Saturday's upset of Iowa State. The Longhorns had 10 against Kansas State. ... Coach Bruce Weber bemoaned the fact his team couldn't get to the free throw line, although he said it had nothing to do with the officials. The Wildcats made eight of their 14 free throw attempts. UT was 12 of 20.