IT WAS OVER WHEN
Longhorns point guard Javan Felix hit as close of a buzzer beater as you could ever have to give Texas an 84-82 victory over No. 3 North Carolina.
The call was good on the floor but the officials had to review it because it was THAT close.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Javan Felix and Eric Davis Jr. are going to be my two players of the game. Texas needed both of them to get this victory.
Felix hit clutch shot, after clutch shot [including the biggest one of them all] to finish with a game-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He hit 5 of his 7 three-point attempts.
Felix had to play point guard for a good portion of the first half with Isaiah Taylor in foul trouble.
Davis was equally impressive and continues to make an argument that he is the best shooter on this team. He just knows the intricacies of the game. He gets it and you could see it today as he finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Let’s call it play(s).
Obviously Felix’s shot takes the cake here but let’s go a different angle just because.
Isaiah Taylor, on three consecutive possessions, hit a fadeaway three, hit a runner, and made a nice pass to Cameron Ridley, who completed an And-1 to give Texas a 79-76 lead with 1:59 left. Then, after UNC tied the game at 80 with 40 seconds left, Taylor got his own rebound off a missed runner and swished another runner to put Texas up 82-80 with 22.2 seconds lef.t
STAT OF THE GAME
36-27 – The was the rebounding edge for the Longhorns over UNC and a stat that Roy Williams continuously mentioned in his post-game press conference. It ended up leading to two critical Longhorns buckets in the final minute; one was an offensive rebound from Isaiah Taylor that he put back to give Texas an 82-80 lead and then Javan Felix had the ball bounce right to him off a miss that led to his game-winner.
SECONDARY STAT OF THE GAME
50 – The percent for the Longhorns behind the arc for the first half [7-of-14] and second half [5-of-10]. Four different Texas players hit threes. Connor Lammert was 1-of-5, Isaiah Taylor was 2-of-4, Felix was 5-of-7, and Davis was 4-of-5.
WHAT THEY SAID:
On the last shot he took, which bounced to Felix for the game-winner: “Coach had the confidence in me to take the final shot. It came off perfect to Javan. When he got it off I thought it was good. This was a great won for us and for our university.”
On what he and the team had to prove: “Prove to the coach, ourselves, to UT. We had great fan showing today. This is more reason for the fans to come to the game. If we get this every game it gives us a better chance of winning. Eric and Javan did a great job of hitting shots today.”
On overcoming picking up two early fouls, with in the first five minutes of the game: “It was really just to stay poised. It was hard to get into the rhythm in the first half. Coming down the stretch, my teammates had confidence in me.”
On the team’s communication down the stretch, when it had to battle back time and time again: “This game, especially in the second half, we kept our poise. This was one of our best game communicating.”
On confidence of facing the No. 3 team in the country and preseason No. 1: “We were very confident. It makes it easier when you have been through these situations already. You know what to expect. And Coach Smart is in our ear all game. He’s the most confident guy I’ve ever been around.”
On if he knew he made the game-winner: “Yes, I know I hit it. When I was going to get the ball I had 1-something so I knew I had time to pick it up and put a shot up. You still have to go through your regular shot and routine.”
On not being intimidated by UNC: “It means a lot because we work hard every day. We know how good we can be if we put everything together. We know how we can match up to these teams that have high rankings. It’s a really good win for us today but we still have a lot of stuff to do.”
On if he has ever heard from fans/media that he shoots too much. “You can say that but I’m going to keep shooting.”
On how long it felt like the review took: “It didn’t feel that long because I was confident that shot was going to go in.”
On Roy Williams saying he has an “Old man YMCA game”: “He’s not the first one to say that. I feel good about that. That means I’m doing something right for him to give me some kind of recognition. I’m happy he had that to say about me.”
On his battle with Marcus Paige, who led UNC with 20 points: “Marcus Paige is a really good player. Every game we’ve had a good matchup. We know what he was going to do. We did a good job on him as a team. They do a lot of stagger screens.”
On when he looked up to the clock to see he had a bit more than a second left: ”Right before the ball came to me. I was actually looking at Lammert. When Connor’s man helped, my man helped.”
On if he’s ever not had confidence in his shot: “My freshman year I had no confidence in shooting the ball. That was then.”
On Isaiah Taylor, who finished with 18 points: “He took over the game. He started making plays for everybody. It was definitely a good half by him.”
On what happened in the locker room after the game: “When I walked in the locker room they mobbed me. Everyone had a water bottle and they got me.”
On his mindset going into this game: “Same as any other game. I just want to contribute for the team. I got lucky and hit some shots. I’m looking forward to Tuesday’s game and getting better from here.”
On Shaka Smart during his recruitment: “Getting to know each other was the biggest thing for me and him. He did a really good job communicating with me. I got to know him really fast and I’m glad I came.”
On why he plays so loose: “Looking at these guys in practice. I’m learning a lot from the older guys. I really give a lot of credit to my teammates for believing in me.”
“Feels great. My prevailing emotion is I’m just so happy for our players. Ever since we got here they have worked hard, but to be honest with you, there have been some growing pains. For this to be a win, this validates how much work they’ve put in.”
“We want our guys to play with no hesitation.”
“We played loose and played aggressive.”
On Javan Felix: “He has heart. He has an unbelievable level of fortitude and heart. A lot of fight. He was lights out in terms of following the game plan.”
On Taylor overcoming foul trouble to play such a big role for UT: “He’s so fast, probably the fastest guy that I’ve ever coached. It’s a fine line because you want to use that speed. But you can’t be a great player playing at one speed. He did a good job of playing with fouls through the middle part of the game. We told our guys to be aggressive from the start.”
“It’s amazing what you do when you have to do it. I think this is a classic example of a team deciding to win the game is more important than any individual agenda. For the last couple of weeks, talking has been one of our non-negotiables. If they aren’t talking we just stop and run.”
On his freshmen starting to play better: “They were really good. I though Snoop [Kerwin Roach] gave us really valuable minutes. Eric, what a huge spark he gave us off the bench. He came in and gave us a big lift. Those guys are turning into terrific players. They are not all the way yet, but they just keep getting better.”
On Taylor: “He’s our most dynamic offensive player, even when he’s not scoring.”
On winning the offensive glass battle 16-4: “Just want-to. I think our guys, it was more of a desire that guys went after it more. We decided to play big. I think the whole game we played with two true bigs.”
“My biggest takeaway was that this was a lot of fun. The atmosphere was electric, our fans were terrific. That’s what you come to a place like this to coach for. That’s why our guys come to school here. Hopefully we can replicate that moving forward.”
On seeing Charlie Strong after the game. “I said, “Did you get your guy?” [Laughs]
Note: Texas announced a sellout crowd of 16,540.