Senior guard Max Abmas delivered No. 19 Texas basketball its most exciting and dramatic win of the regular season so far on Nov. 19 in an Empire Classic semifinal game against the Louisville Cardinals. Abmas nailed a last-second game-winning two-point jump shot that put Texas ahead, 81-80, to get the win over Louisville and stay undefeated on the season.
Texas and Louisville were battling neck and neck for most of the afternoon. While the Longhorns held the lead for over 25 minutes of this game, there were multiple lead changes and ties along the way.
There were 21 lead changes and 14 times that Louisville and Texas were tied in this game. Neither team ever reached a double-digit lead. But Texas did come close with a nine-point lead at one point in the first half.
Kadin Shedrick’s career day and Max Abmas’ game-winner leads Texas basketball to one-point win vs. Louisville
This game was largely decided at the free-throw line. Texas and Louisville combined for a whopping 54 free throws, over 40 of which came in the second half. Louisville was uber-efficient from the charity stripe, shooting 85 percent from the line after coming in shooting at a clip of just 68 percent.
The biggest issue Texas faced in this game was shooting from beyond the arc. After shooting the lights out in the first three games this season, the Longhorns shot just 2-of-17 (12 percent) from deep against Louisville. However, Texas found a way to win by combining dominant play in the paint and clutch shooting late to get the victory.
The win over Louisville sets up a marquee top-25 final match in the Empire Classic on Nov. 20 between the Longhorns and the defending National Champion and No. 5 ranked UConn Huskies.
Here’s a look at two studs and one dud from the Longhorns’ last-second clutch 81-80 win over Louisville at MSG on Nov. 19.
Stud: Max Abmas, G
Before hitting the clutch game-winning basket from mid-range for the Longhorns, Abmas was having his worst shooting performance of the season thus far. Even after draining the two-point game-winning field goal, Abmas shot just 6-of-19 from the field and 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Abmas was red-hot shooting from the field and from deep to start the season. He shot 50 percent on six three-point attempts per game and 52 percent from the field on over 10 attempts per game in the first three contests.
But Abmas delivered when it mattered most for the Longhorns, which is why he appears on the studs list following this key win over Louisville. Texas needed someone to step up in clutch time, and Abmas answered the call.
This was a game in which Texas saw everyone getting involved in distributing the basketball to pick up assists. Texas only got a dozen dimes vs. Louisville, but we saw five different players get multiple assists on the day.
Abmas delivered two dimes and one rebound. He also didn’t turn the ball over once. On the defensive end, Abmas was late on a few close outs to challenge shooters on the perimeter. But he did get one steal of Texas’ seven steals.
I’d like to see a bit more effort from Abmas on those close outs, especially late in close games like this one against Louisville. The top three guards for the Cardinals had a field day shooting from the field and from beyond the arc. Tre White, Skyy Clark, and Ty-Lau Johnson combined for 54 points on 16-of-30 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 from deep.