Movin' on! Texas advances to 2nd round of NCAA Tournament with strong defensive effort versus Colorado St.

Joe Cookby:Joe Cook03/21/24


For the 20th time in program history and the 13th time this century, the Texas Longhorns have advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. No. 7 Texas (21-12, 9-9 Big 12) defeated the No. 10 Colorado State Rams (25-11, 10-8 Mountain West) 56-44 to advance to the second round. The Longhorns will face the winner of a Thursday night matchup between the No. 2 seed Tennessee Volunteers and the No. 15 seed St. Peter’s Peacocks.

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It’s Rodney Terry‘s fourth career NCAA Tournament win, all coming as head coach of the Longhorns.

Dylan Disu and Max Abmas led all scorers with 12 points apiece. Chendall Weaver was the only other Longhorn in double figures with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Texas held the Rams under 45 points, marking only the second time the Horns have accomplished that feat all season. The Longhorns held UNC Greensboro to 37 points in December.

Texas also forced 18 turnovers, second only to the 21 the Longhorns forced in mid-November against Delaware State.

Colorado State jumped to out to an 8-2 lead in the first five minutes of the contest. Disu missed four shots in that span, part of a 1-fot-7 half for the first-team All-Big 12 selection. From that point on, the Longhorn defense clamped down and made life on offense an insurmountable chore for the Rams.

Texas held CSU scoreless from the 15:16 mark to the 6:50 mark in the first half. Then from the 6:50 mark all the way to halftime, the Longhorn defense again held Colorado State without a point. Texas forced 11 first-half turnovers, recorded seven steals, and even blocked a shot.

The Rams were 5-for-27 in the first half from the field, 1-for-9 from three, and did not take a single free throw.

Disu and Abmas struggled for most of the first half but the Longhorns found offensive contributions from others. Hunter scored seven points in the first half, with two coming via a steal-and-score dunk to make it a 25-9 game.

Abmas found his stroke in the final minute, hitting a jumper with 47 seconds left before nailing a long three-pointer from near the midcourt logo with two seconds left in the half to make it 27-11 entering the break.

Texas shot 39 percent in the first half, while CSU was a paltry 19 percent. The Rams turned the ball over 11 times and the Longhorns added nine points to their own ledger as a result. Colorado State started to figure things out in the second half, upping their shooting percentage to 39 percent.

The CSU efforts were not enough to overcome the 16-point lead the Longhorns built at halftime. Disu, who only scored two points in the first half, dropped 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting in the second 20 minutes. Abmas scored seven in the second half, as did Weaver.

The Rams slowly chipped away at the Longhorn lead in the second half, cutting it to eight points with 12:44 then again to seven points with 8:29. CSU cut it to as low as six points with 4:11 left in the game. But a quick 8-0 run put the Longhorns up 14 with under two minutes left. Colorado State tried to play the foul game for a little while before waving the white flag with under 30 seconds left.

CSU had Isaiah Stevens and Joel Scott both reach 10 points. No other Ram scored more than seven points. Texas is now 12-0 this season in games where it holds its opponent under 40 percent from the field.

The Longhorns await the winner of the matchup between Tennessee and St. Peter’s. The Volunteers are coached by former Texas head coach Rick Barnes. Terry was an assistant on Barnes’ Texas staff from 2002 through 2011, helping the Longhorns to four Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, and the 2003 Final Four.

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The Longhorns will play Saturday at a time and on a channel to be announced.

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