Texas chokes away double-digit lead to Nevada in wild overtime game

The Dagger
Texas and Nevada played the second overtime game of the 2018 NCAA tournament so far. (Getty)
Texas and Nevada played the second overtime game of the 2018 NCAA tournament so far. (Getty)

Between the 18:02 mark of the first half and the end of the second, Nevada never led its first round NCAA tournament game against Texas. It trailed by as many as 14 after halftime, and even as it heated up down the stretch, its comeback appeared destined to fall just short.

Then the Wolf Pack got some help from their opponents. They also made clutch shot after clutch shot, and pulled off a remarkable 87-83 win in overtime.

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A series of Texas mistakes allowed Nevada to send the game to OT in the first place, and once it got there, the No. 7 seed caught fire. They scored 19 points in the five-minute period to complete their comeback.


Nevada had cut Texas’ lead down to one by the final minute of regulation. Two Dylan Osetkowski free throws with 45 seconds to play extended it to three. Then things began to unravel for the Longhorns.

Nevada’s Jordan Caroline cut the lead back to one with 34 seconds left as Mo Bamba flew past him:


The Wolf Pack then sent Texas’ Kerwin Roach to the free throw line with 18 seconds left. Roach missed the front end of the one-and-one.

Nevada raced down to the other end, and Caroline got to the rim, only to be turned away by Bamba. But Caroline recovered the ball, and Bamba, rather than going straight up again, fouled the Nevada junior.


It was Bamba’s fifth foul. It also sent Caroline to the line with a chance to win the game. He made one of two to tie it.

Texas’ worst gaffes didn’t ultimately cost it. Its inbounds play with the game tied at 68 and 3.8 seconds on the clock was doomed from the start. A floating pass to midcourt evaded Jericho Sims, and ended up out of bounds, turned over back to Nevada. The Wolf Pack got a decent look at the buzzer, but missed.

They didn’t do much missing in overtime, though. Five players scored in double digits, led by Kendall Stephens with 22. Coach Eric Musselman stuck with a six-man rotation, playing four of his starters over 40 minutes, but all four finished strong.

And Musselman completed his turnaround. Three years ago, he took over a program that went 9-22 in 2015. He fast-tracked the rebuild with transfers, and got Nevada back to the tournament last year. He did so again in year three, and now has his first NCAA tournament win.

He was understandably elated after the game.


The celebrations, to begin, included a flying jump into the locker room and multiple F-bombs. They won’t continue for too long, though. Next up is No. 2 seed Cincinnati on Sunday.

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