Late FTs lift No. 14 Abilene Christian to upset over Texas

Abilene Christian

Joe Pleasant #32 and Coryon Mason #20 of the Abilene Christian Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Texas Longhorns 53-52 in the first round game of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 20, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Abilene Christian’s Joe Pleasant canned two free throws with 1.2 seconds to play as the 14th-seeded Wildcats stunned third-seeded Texas 53-52 on Saturday in a wild first-round NCAA Tournament East Regional game in Indianapolis.

Abilene Christian moves on to face 11th-seeded UCLA in a second-round game on Monday.


Reggie Miller hit a free throw for the Wildcats with 1:19 left to push their lead to 51-47. Andrew Jones’ two free throws with 56 seconds to play pulled Texas to within two points, and Jones’ 3-pointer with 13.8 seconds remaining gave the Longhorns a one-point edge.

After a time out, Damien Daniel’s layup was blocked but Pleasant corralled the rebound and was fouled with 1.2 seconds to play. Pleasant, a 57 percent free throw shooter in the regular season, then hit his two free throws to give the Wildcats the unlikely win.

Abilene Christian (24-4) is making just its second appearance in the NCAA Tournament and posted its first ever win.


Coryon Mason and Pleasant led the Wildcats with 11 points each. Abilene Christian led the nation this season in creating turnovers and forced Texas into a season-high 23 miscues.

Andrew Jones led the Longhorns with 13 points, with Kai Jones adding 11 and Jericho Sims scoring 10 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

Texas (19-8) lost in the first round in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time since 2015. The Longhorns have never made it to the second round in coach Shaka Smart’s six years as head coach.

The first half went back and forth, with Abilene Christian using an 11-1 run to take a 15-11 lead at the 11:05 mark. The Longhorns tied the game at 17 on a 3-pointer by Jase Febres with 9:34 to play in the half and held the Wildcats scoreless the final 7:13 to earn a 28-23 advantage at halftime.

Kai Jones paced the Longhorns with seven points in the half as Texas outshot the Wildcats 47.6 percent to 30.3 percent over the first 20 minutes.

Pleasant scored seven points to lead Abilene Christian at the break; the Wildcats missed their final 12 shots of the half but stayed close by forcing 12 Texas turnovers.

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