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Second half surge not enough as Texas falls to No. 17 Gonzaga in OT, 76-71

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Texas climbed back from down 21 in the second half, but ran out of gas in overtime.

Duke University v University of Texas Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

For the second time in as many games, the Texas Longhorns took a ranked team into overtime.

For the second time in as many games, Texas lost, this time at the hands of the Gonzaga Bulldogs, 76-71.

Just two days after its heartbreaking overtime loss to No. 1 Duke after leading throughout, the Longhorns started hot once again.

Then Gonzaga erupted.

After Texas jumped out to an early 16-8 edge, Gonzaga proceeded to take anything it wanted offensively, while holding the 'Horns completely in check en route to a 24-0 run.

Just over six minutes after Texas was on the cusp of a double-digit advantage, it was Gonzaga enjoying such a luxury, leading the Longhorns 32-16 with 6:03 remaining in the first half.

It appeared Bevo was buried with little hope of rising from the grave Gonzaga put it in early.

After entering intermission trailing 42-28 on the heels of the worst half of the young season for the ‘Horns, very little changed coming out of the break. Within the first six minutes, Gonzaga’s 14-point lead mushroomed into a 21-point cushion, 54-33.

With the game seemingly in hand and the ‘Horns destined for a blowout loss, Texas slowly but surely began to chip away at Gonzaga’s lead.

By the 12:29 mark, a Matt Coleman three-pointer trimmed the deficit to 54-40. That same 14-point Bulldogs advantage it held at halftime would remain true to form throughout the next seven minutes, as well, prior to an Andrew Jones three pointer with 5:27 that cut the lead to 58-47. Seconds later, a Dylan Osetkowski hook shot put Texas within striking distance at 58-49.

With 3:26 to play, though, it appeared as if Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie delivered the dagger — a three-pointer to push the lead back to 63-52.

The Texas resiliency remained, though.

Nearly a full minute later, Jones responded with a three of his own. Coleman forced a held ball that gave the Longhorns possession once again moments later before and Osetkowski layup cut the lead to just 63-57. With Gonzaga now noticeably rushed, a Coleman steal and transition assist to Jones capped a 7-0 run in just 50 seconds and what was a 26-9 Texas run, forcing a Gonzaga timeout.

Texas continues to apply the pressure coming out of the break, and forced the Zags into another miscue before Jones couldn’t handle a pass that sent the ball back the other way. Then, with time running out and Gonzaga playing keep away, a monstrous Mohamed Bamba blocked shot as time trickled on the shot clock sent the ball right into the awaiting hands of Silas Melson, who nailed the three as the shot clock expired with just 58 seconds remaining, pushing Gonzaga’s lead to 66-59.

Dagger, right?

Not exactly.

In what proved to be a chaotic final minute of regulation, Jones and Tillie exchanged a free throw each to leave the Bulldogs with a 67-62 lead with just 18 seconds to play. The following series, a Bamba tip-in with just 10 seconds remaining made it a one-possession game, 67-64, and then chaos ensued.

After Jones’ near buzzer-beater three sent the Longhorns and Bulldogs into overtime, momentum was entirely on Texas’ side.

Bamba opened up the extra minutes with a thunderous dunk that gave Texas its first lead since 16-15, and the Longhorns, despite owning just a two-point lead, appeared in complete control.

That was as close as Texas would get to victory, though.

The following six possessions, before Coleman finally sunk to meaningless free throws with six seconds left to pull to the final score of 76-71, were a pair of missed three-pointers, a missed jumper, and three turnovers. In what became a two-score game, Texas endured six empty possessions in crunch time after much of the same cost the ‘Horns a potential upset over top-ranked Duke just days earlier.

After beginning the season 4-0 and opening the PK80 Invitational with a win over Butler, Texas dropped back-to-back games and will head back to Austin at 4-2.

Despite the losses, though, Texas put to rest any concerns that the product on the court this season won’t be much-improved over 2016-17’s 11-win campaign. The late-game collapses are an area of concern, and one that Smart will almost surely emphasize as Texas inches towards Big 12 play, but the face that Texas was deadlocked with an elite Duke team and an Elite Eight mainstay in Gonzaga speaks volumes towards the caliber of team Texas has this season.


Stat line

  • Matt Coleman — 19 points, 7-15 FG, 4 assists, 1 turnover
  • Andrew Jones — 18 points, 6-12 FG, 3-5 from 3, 5 turnovers
  • Dylan Osetkowski — 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals
  • Mohamed Bamba — 9 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks
  • Texas’ bench — 7 points, 2-9 FG
  • Texas — 10 assists, 20 turnovers, 26-67 FG (38.8%)

This story will be updated.