NEW YORK (AP) — Max Abmas hit a fallaway jumper at the buzzer as No. 19 Texas outlasted a stiff challenge from Louisville to earn an 81-80 victory Sunday in the Empire Classic.
In a game with 21 lead changes and 14 ties, Abmas gave the Longhorns (4-0) the dramatic win off a successful inbounds play.
“It felt like an NCAA tournament game,” Texas coach Rodney Terry said.
Chandel Weaver inbounded to Brock Cunningham, who quickly got the ball back to Weaver. After Weaver passed to Abmas at the top of the key. Abmas moved to his right, made three dribbles and released a shot over Skyy Clark that cleanly went in.
“We just kind of had a play where I started on the block, came up to get the ball and then it was kind of spread out,” Abmas said. “I was able to get my spot, a couple of dribbles and knock down the game-winner.”
After making the shot, Abmas was mobbed by his teammates.
Before Abmas hit his dramatic shot, Louisville held an 80-78 lead on a 3-pointer by Clark with 81 seconds left that slightly bounced up and in. After Texas was called for a shot clock violation with 36 seconds left, Louisville also got called for a shot clock violation with seven seconds left to allow the Longhorns to win it.
“We were fortunate to have the ball at the very end and Max made a big time play, a big time shot to close the game out,” Terry said.
Kadin Shedrick scored a career-high 27 points for Texas. Abmas added 14 as the Longhorns shot 46.3%. Abmas, who led 15th-seeded Oral Roberts to a first-round victory over Ohio State in the 2021 NCAA tournament, made 6 of 19 shots.
“That was a great shot and I played some really good defense but that’s Max,” Clark said.
Clark and Tre White scored 20 apiece for the Cardinals (2-2), who were unable to finish off their first win against a ranked team since beating Virginia Tech on Jan. 6, 2021.
Texas constantly got to the rim and shot 57.6% in the opening 20 minutes for a 41-38 lead. The Longhorns’ last seven shots were layups or dunks and they ended the half on a layup by Abmas following an errant pass by Ty-Laur Johnson.
Texas missed its first five shots of the second half and trailed 48-44 after Clark converted a 3-point play with 16:53 left. The Cardinals took a 52-50 lead on White’s reverse layup with 13:16 left and Texas held a 59-54 lead on a drive by Abmas with 9:36 to go.
Texas: Shedrick constantly had his way inside with six dunks and several easy baskets as he surpassed his previous career high of 20 set with Virginia in 2022 against Louisville. Shedrick, who has undergone two shoulder surgeries, made 11 of 15 shots and grabbed seven rebounds. “It’s just a coincidence I think,” Shedrick said of his big games against Louisville. “I’d like to keep doing that against other teams too.” Making the biggest game of his career even more impressive is that Shedrick did not practice Saturday and it was uncertain that he would play. “Each time he hits the floor, I’m praying that he’s ok,” Terry said.
Louisville: The Cardinals brought constant energy as their bench was often engaged and hanging on every play.
Texas: Faces No. 5 UConn in Monday’s title game.
Louisville: Faces Indiana in Monday’s consolation game.
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