Rushed Reactions: #7 Texas 87, #10 Arizona State 85

Posted by Walker Carey on March 20th, 2014

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When it mattered most, big #55 Cameron Ridley came up huge. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

When it mattered most, big #55 Cameron Ridley came up huge. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

Three Takeaways.

  1. This victory was a team effort from Texas. The Longhorns have been a balanced offensive unit all season and that was again the story for them in the win over Arizona State. Six Longhorns (guards Javan Felix, Demarcus Holland, Isaiah Taylor and big men Jonathan Holmes, Martez Walker, and Cameron Ridley) finished the evening in double figures. Taylor, a freshman, did not show his inexperience at all, as he totaled six assists and only committed one turnover. Ridley was a load inside and his 17 points and 12 rebounds were the production Texas needed in the post. Obviously, Ridley’s biggest two points came on his putback to beat the buzzer, giving his Longhorns the victory and pushing them into the round of 32.
  2. Cameron Ridley vs. Jordan Bachynski was an outstanding post match-up. Ridley will garner nearly all the press due to his game-winning shot, but it must be noted how productive Arizona State’s Jordan Bachynski was throughout the game — the Sun Devils’ big man finished the evening with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting. There were portions of the game where it would alternate between Texas pounding the ball to Ridley on one end and Arizona State pounding it to Bachynski on the other end. It was the most entertaining match-up on the floor all evening. While Ridley ultimately got the best of Bachynski with his final shot, Bachynski was a worthy adversary and the battle between the two center greatly contributed to the game’s entertainment level.
  3. Texas faces a tall task against Michigan on Saturday. The Longhorns do not have much time to relish in their emotional victory, as they now have a match-up with #2 Michigan in the round of 32 on Saturday. The Wolverines play a similar style to that of Arizona State, but they are a much more polished unit than the Sun Devils. Michigan’s ability to shoot from distance is well-known and Texas’ perimeter defense was an issue on Friday night (it allowed Arizona State to shoot 53.3 percent from three). If Texas does not find a way to shore that up a bit before Saturday, it may be in for a long night of Michigan three-pointers. An area where Texas should have an advantage, though, is with its inside play. Ridley and Jonathan Holmes give the Longhorns two legitimate threats in the post and on the glass and those are two areas where Michigan struggles a bit. The Wolverines deserve to be favored, but don’t be surprised if Texas keeps it close and has a chance to ultimately win the game.

Player of the Game. Cameron Ridley, Texas. The player of the game just has to be the guy who grabbed the offensive rebound and saw his game-winning putback beat the buzzer. Even before the game-winner, Ridley was a beast inside all night for the Longhorns. He finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds and consistently challenged Arizona State with his physicality in the lane.

Quotable.

  • “It is a tough one. It was a tough way to end the game and it is a tough way to end my career.” – Arizona State forward Jordan Bachynski, commenting on how Ridley’s buzzer-beater ended Arizona State’s season and his collegiate career.
  • “It is very unfortunate that either team had to lose this game.” – Texas coach Rick Barnes, acknowledging how hard each team fought.
  • “To this point, it is the highlight of my career. I had never made a game-winner in my life.” – Texas big man Cameron Ridley, when asked if the buzzer-beater was the highlight of his collegiate career.

Sights and Sounds. It was a pro-Texas crowd at the Bradley Center with a solid amount of burnt orange on display. The Longhorn fans were active throughout the evening and exploded in joy when Ridley’s buzzer-beater was ruled good. While Arizona State did not have a large number of fans at the Bradley Center, the ones that were there made their presence known all evening long. When the Sun Devils made their run in the second half, that segment of the arena was having the time of its life.

What’s Next. Texas advances to the round of 32 where it will meet #2 seed Michigan on Saturday.

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