Naji Marshall’s potential game-tying layup rolled off the rim at the end of overtime as No. 2 seed Texas defeated No. 3 seed Xavier 78-76 in the second round of the NIT in Austin, Texas.
Texas’ Kerwin Roach II missed 3 of 4 free throws in the final 22 seconds that could have iced the game for Texas.
The Longhorns (18-16) will host the winner of Monday’s Norfolk State-Colorado game in the tournament quarterfinals.
Xavier’s Quentin Goodin hit the first of two free throws with 2.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the score, but missed the second. Zach Hankins grabbed the rebound, but his follow shot was blocked by Jericho Sims.
The second half was a back-and-forth contest. Xavier (19-16) scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 39-38 lead. Sims, who picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of the first half, picked up his third just 11 seconds into the second half.
But after Xavier grabbed a four-point lead, Texas replied with a 12-3 run to grab its largest lead of the game to that point. Xavier gradually chipped away until tying the score on Goodin’s first free throw.
Texas used the outside shot to its advantage. The Longhorns shot 45.8 percent from long-range (11-for-24) using the international 3-point line that’s being used in the NIT. It’s nearly 17 inches further than the NCAA distance of 20 feet, 9 inches. Texas entered the game averaging 34.0 percent from long range, while the Musketeers were at 33.3 percent. Xavier shot 5-for-17 (29.4 percent) in the game.
Texas, which had lost five of six coming into the NIT, again played without 6-11 freshman Jaxson Hayes, who injured his knee in the Big 12 tournament. Xavier had won three of its last four entering Sunday.
Roach, who was suspended three different times the past two seasons and was averaging 15 points per game prior to being suspended for the final five games in the regular season, led Texas with 21 points off the bench along with seven rebounds and six assists.
Xavier was led by Tyrique Jones with 22 points and 11 assists. Marshall added 19, Goodin had 14 and Hankins scored 13.
Texas led 38-32 at halftime. The Longhorns were led by Roach, who had 14 points off the bench. He was the only bench player to score for Texas.
The Longhorns pulled away late in the half. They trailed 22-21 with 6:35 left, but Roach and Sims scored 14 of the final 17 points for Texas in the half. Marshall led Xavier with 10 first-half points.
—Field Level Media