MILWAUKEE (AP) – Andrew Jones scored 21 points, Marcus Carr beat the halftime buzzer with a shot from well beyond halfcourt to put Texas ahead for good, and the Longhorns beat Virginia Tech 81-73 on Friday for their first NCAA Tournament victory since 2014.
The sixth-seeded Longhorns (22-11) advance to a second-round East Region game Sunday against No. 3 seed Purdue (28-7). The Boilermakers trounced Yale 78-56 on Friday.
After Virginia Tech’s Storm Murphy made two free throws with 2.1 seconds left in the first half to give the Hokies a 32-31 lead, Carr got about one-third of the way up the court before banking in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Carr had taken just a couple of steps beyond the 3-point arc on the opposite end of the floor and hadn’t even reached the ”S” on the ”March Madness” logo when he launched his shot.
Texas built on the momentum from that improbable basket and led by 17 with 5 1/2 minutes left. Virginia Tech’s Hunter Cattoor sank a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to cut Texas’ lead to 76-69, but the Hokies couldn’t get any closer.
Carr had 15 points and Timmy Allen added 14 and Texas went 10 of 19 from 3-point range while ending a five-game tournament losing streak.
Virginia Tech’s Sean Pedulla scored 19 points, with 13 coming in the last 4 1/2 minutes. Keve Aluma had 15 and Cattoor added 12 as Virginia Tech lost for just the third time in 16 games. The 11th-seeded Hokies (23-13) had played their way into the NCAA field by winning their first Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title last week.
Virginia Tech led for much of the first half but couldn’t keep pace with the Longhorns after Carr’s big basket. The Hokies went 5 1/2 minutes without a basket as Texas started to pull away.
Carr found Christian Bishop for an inside basket with 11:18 left to give the Longhorns a 52-43 edge, the biggest lead for either team up to that point. Carr sank a 3-pointer 40 seconds later to make it 55-43.
Texas maintained a double-digit edge until the final minute.