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Longhorns Season Ends With Loss To Tennessee In NCAA Tourney

Texas v Tennessee

Head coach Rodney Terry of the Texas Longhorns reacts to a play during the second half against the Tennessee Volunteers in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 23, 2024 in Charlotte, North Carolina.Photo: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

The seventh seeded Texas Longhorns are out of the NCAA Tournament in the round of 32 after a 62-58 loss to second seeded Tennessee in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Spectrum Center. Despite finishing the game with a hirer shooting percentage, a 19-point first half was just too much to overcome. The Longhorns have missed the sweet sixteen two years in a row.

Sophomore guard Chendall Weaver and junior guard Tyrese Hunter each posted 13 points.

Weaver converted 3-of-7 field goals (1-of-3 threes) and went a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line in 26 minutes. Hunter hit 6-of-11 field goals and added six rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes. Graduate forward Dylan Disu posted 12 points, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 35 minutes, and graduate guard Max Abmas tallied 10 points, a season-high eight rebounds, two assists, one blocked shot and one steal in 34 minutes.

Just as it was in Thursday night’s NCAA First Round 56-44 victory over Colorado State, the Texas defense was outstanding during Saturday’s contest. The Longhorns limited Tennessee to 33.8-percent (22-65) field goal shooting, including a 3-of-25 (.120) mark from three-point range, on the evening.

A Disu turnaround jumper brought the Longhorns to within 10-8 at the 11:23 mark, before Tennessee used a 6-0 spurt to build a 16-8 advantage following a Josiah-Jordan James put-back with 9:39 left. Texas responded with six-straight points to trim the margin to 16-14 after a Dillon Mitchell put-back at the 7:50 mark.

The Longhorns cut the gap to 18-17 following an Abmas three-pointer with 6:38 remaining, but the Volunteers answered with a 10-0 run over the next five minutes to increase their cushion to 28-17 after a Dalton Knecht layup at the 1:28 mark. An Ithiel Horton jumper with 1:03 left proved to be the final score of the first half, and Tennessee took a 28-19 lead into the break.

A pair of Weaver free throws trimmed the margin to 30-23 at the 17:54 mark, but the Volunteers converted back-to-back baskets to build a 34-23 advantage after a Knecht put-back dunk with 15:18 remaining. Tennessee extended its cushion to 40-28 following another Knecht put-back at the 12:59 mark, before the Longhorns went on a 9-1 run over the next three minutes to cut the deficit to 41-37 after a pair of Disu free throws with 10:05 left.

An Abmas three-pointer brought the Longhorns to within 45-42 at the 7:15 mark. The Vols responded with an 8-2 spurt over the next three minutes to take a 53-44 advantage following a James three-pointer with 4:23 remaining. Texas went on a 9-2 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes to cut the deficit to 55-53 after a Hunter layup in transition at the 1:53 mark.

A Jonas Aidoo free throw gave Tennessee a 56-53 cushion with 48 seconds left, before an Abmas layup trimmed the margin to 56-55 with 34 seconds remaining. That was as close as the Longhorns could get, as the Volunteers sealed the victory by hitting six-straight free throws in the final 25 seconds.

The Longhorns concluded the 2023-24 season with a 21-13 overall record.

Texas v Tennessee

Josiah-Jordan James #30 of the Tennessee Volunteers handles the ball against Tyrese Hunter #4 of the Texas Longhorns during the second half in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Spectrum Center on March 23, 2024 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Jacob Kupferman / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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