Guard play figured to make the difference Saturday when No. 3 North Carolina traveled to Texas and it played out in just such fashion with the last guard to touch the ball cashing the game-winning shot for the Longhorns.
Texas senior Javan Felix led all scorers with 25 points the final two coming when he grabbed an offensive rebound and made a shot 15-foot jumper at the buzzer for a thrilling 84-82 triumph. It was the first big win of Shaka Smart's tenure at Texas and it came against a team many believe is the favorite to win the national title. Until Saturday, the Longhorns seemed to be struggling at times to adapt to Smart's system, or at least they didn't have a notable win to show they were making progress in the transition.
Now they do and it's the kind of thing that should go over well with recruits and frustrated fans eager to see the Longhorns competing at a high level once again.
Officials immediately halted the Longhorns' celebration to review the shot, which left Felix's hand with .1 second showing on the clock. It was fitting for Texas to win after an offensive rebound. North Carolina couldn't seem to stop the Longhorns from getting second and third opportunities throughout the second half.
Felix was one of a handful of guards on both sides to play well. Isaiah Taylor, whose missed game-winner Felix collected in the waning moments, scored 18 points with five assists for the Longhorns. Eric Davis Jr. scored 16 off the bench for Texas.
The Longhorns made 12 of 24 3-point attempts.
Marcus Paige led the Tar Heels with 20 points and hit a shot in the final minute to tie the game.
While guard play was the stroy, Texas couldn't have won withiout center Cameron Ridley and forward Connor Lammert more than holding their own against the North Carolina frontcourt that Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson.
Ridley finished with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds and Texas outrebounded the Tar Heels by nine.
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