Texas's second half rally falls just short vs. Tennessee

Chendall Weaver and Tyrese Hunter got Texas basketball back in the game late against Tennessee, but ultimately fell short of another Sweet 16 trip after a 62-58 loss.

Chendall Weaver, Texas basketball
Chendall Weaver, Texas basketball / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Texas basketball's offense finally came to life late in the second half in a primetime Round of 32 matchup in March Madness on March 23 against the two-seed Tennessee Volunteers. But it was too little too late for Texas and head coach Rodney Terry, who couldn't overcome some bad turnovers, especially in the first half.

Texas basketball falls four points shy of Tennessee in the Round of 32

The first half was abysmal for the Longhorns' offense, as they registered three more turnovers than made field goals. Former UT head coach Rick Barnes and the Vols also held the Longhorns to just 19 points in the first half, taking a 28-19 lead into the locker room at halftime.

For the second straight game, Texas couldn't get its two best scorers going offensively in the first 20 minutes. Senior guard Max Abmas and senior big man Dylan Disu both shot well below 40 percent from the field and didn't make a single attempt from beyond the arc in the first half.

But a spark led by sophomore guard Chendall Weaver helped Texas find some life on the offensive end of the floor in the second half. Weaver scored double-digit points in the second half to keep the Longhorns hanging around down the stretch in this game.

The offensive spark from Weaver, who finished up tying a team-high with 13 points, helped to get junior guard Tyrese Hunter and Abmas out of their scoring funk late in the second half.

Hunter found some confidence late in this game, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the game's final eight minutes. He also hit a clutch basket in the game's final 10 seconds to give the Longhorns a chance just before the buzzer.

Unfortunately, though, Tennessee hit some clutch shots from the free-throw line to close out this close victory and advance to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row for the Vols. Two made free throws from star wing Dalton Knecht with under five seconds remaining in the game sealed the 62-58 win for the Vols.

Turnovers and points in the paint made the biggest difference in this game for the Longhorns. While Texas was moving the ball better on the offensive end in the second half, the first-half offensive struggles cost them in the end.

Tennessee turned 17 Texas turnovers in 15 points. The fact that Texas was outrebounded on the offensive glass by a margin of seven and was outscored in points in the paint by a margin of 16 further illustrates the frustrations the Vols gave them down low.

Hunter's lob passes in the first half were confounding and caused many of the unforced errors that resulted in turnovers for the Longhorns early on. It was good to see Hunter respond in a positive fashion down the stretch in the second half. But he needed to be more consistent throughout the entire game.

Texas also needed more out of their top scoring duo of Disu and Abmas. Those two combined to shoot just 7-of-28 from the field and 4-of-13 from beyond the arc as they struggled to find their rhythm for the second straight game on the offensive end.

This wasn't a great tournament showing for Disu or Abmas.

But you have to give props to a guy like Weaver for showing so much effort and energy on both ends of the floor for the Longhorns. In each tournament game, Weaver was the spark Texas needed to get things going.

Texas finishes the season with a record of 21-13 (9-9 Big 12) after the Round of 32 exit. Tennessee will face the winner of the 11-seed Oregon Ducks and three-seed Creighton Blue Jays in the Sweet 16 next week.

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