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Abilene Christian stuns Texas on last-second free throws, 53-52

Abilene Christian players celebrate their 53-52 upset win over Texas in a college basketball...
Abilene Christian players celebrate their 53-52 upset win over Texas in a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday, March 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)(Mark Humphrey | AP)
Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 9:39 AM CDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Abilene Christian and its frantic, havoc-causing defense bounced coach 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 two free throws with 1.2 seconds left, and the Wildcats took down their in-state rivals in the first meeting between the schools.

Pulling off one final upset in a first-round filled with two years’ worth of excitement, Abilene Christian became the fourth team seeded 13th or lower to reach the round of 32 in this NCAA Tournament.

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

Pleasant finished with 11 points, as did Coryon Mason for the Wildcats, who forced 23 turnovers. Abilene Christian (24-4) will face No. 11 seed UCLA in the second round Monday.

Andrew Jones scored 13 points for Texas (19-8) 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 Kai Jones blocked his shot. Pleasant grabbed the rebound, and Matt Coleman III was called for a foul. Pleasant stepped to the line and calmly sank both, then picked off Texas’ final desperation pass at midcourt to hand the Longhorns their third first-round exit under Smart.

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