It only seems fitting that the player who has made the biggest strides this season would make the seasons biggest shot.
Cameron Ridley’s rebound and putback with 0.1 left on the clock propelled the Texas Longhorns past the Arizona State Sun Devils 87-85 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Texas (24-10) worked the ball to Jonathan Holmes, who launched a 3-point shot with five seconds left. The ball bounced off the backboard and caromed off several players before Ridley corralled it and put back the rebound over the out-stretched hand of ASU center Jordan Bachynski as the buzzer sounded.
The Longhorns will play Michigan in the third round on Saturday. Michigan beat Wofford 57-40. Arizona State finishes the season 21-12.
Texas won despite blowing a 14 point lead in the second half. Sun Devil forward Jonathan Gilling hit three 3-point shots during a 25-12 run to pull the Sun Devils to within one 72-71. The teams traded baskets and free throws until ASU’s Jermaine Marshall hit a three to tie the game at 80. This set the stage for a wild final minute of play.
The Sun Devils grabbed its first lead since the midway point of the first half 83-82 on a slam dunk by Bachynski. Texas answered when Holmes completed a three-point play after being fouled by Gilling. Holmes grabbed a missed shot by Javan Felix and put up a shot while falling over Gilling. His free throw gave Texas an 85-83 lead with 32 seconds left. Marshall missed a 3-point shot, but Gilling was there to grab the offensive rebound and was fouled by Holmes. Gilling made both free throws to tie the score with 17 seconds left.
That set the stage for Ridley’s dramatics.
The Texas center led the Longhorns with 17 points. He also had 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. His performance Thursday night is a far cry from last season when he often looked lost on the court and struggled to develop his game.
Texas also received a boost from reserve guard Martez Walker. The freshman scored 16 points while making 9 of 10 free throws in 22 minutes.
NCAA tournament tickets vs Michigan are now available on TiqIQ.com