Texas advances to Elite Eight After Dominant 83-71 Victory Over Xavier

by Michael Nguyen
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Rodney Terry, the interim coach at Texas, was on his way to the locker room after they won against Xavier and earned a spot in the Elite Eight. On his way, he posed with a fan for a photo while making their signature hand gesture, “Hook ’em Horns”. The grateful fan cheered him on and said, “Go get that job, coach!” If the team wins by a couple more games, it’s very likely that the Texas people will hire him for the position.

The coach of the Longhorns made his strongest case yet to stay in his job. Despite not having their star player, Dylan Disu, playing on Friday night, the team still managed to win 83-71 against the Musketeers. Tyrese Hunter scored 19 points and Marcus Carr and Christian Bishop also scored 18 each. This means that Texas are just one game away from getting into the Final Four – a tournament they haven’t been able to get into for 15 years!

Terry, who took over the head coaching spot in December after Chris Beard got suspended and eventually fired because of domestic violence accusations, said that he thought his team played an amazing defensive game. He expressed how proud he was of his players for showing their determination from start to finish.

Disu, who had been doing really well during the first two games of the tournament, hurt his foot in a match against Penn State. He got some medical help all week but it remained hidden until the game started. He played for just a few minutes but then he limped off and into the locker room. When Disu returned to the bench he was wearing an uncomfortable walking boot, a hoodie, and looked pretty unhappy.

Terry said it’s not sure yet if their team, the Longhorns, will do well because they have the best help. But Sunday’s game against the No. 5 seeded Miami Hurricanes is going to be a difficult one – especially without Disu, who won them Big 12 Tournament a couple of weeks ago.

Before the game, we knew Dylan wouldn’t be able to play the full game. We wanted to play for him and make him proud! It made us emotional that he wasn’t out there with us. But Dylan still had lots to celebrate – even in his 6-foot-9 cheering role.

Sir’Jabari Rice scored 16 points and Timmy Allen had 11 points for the Longhorns, who have won 29 out of their 8 matches. In addition, they also managed to keep a tight lock on Souley Boum and Xavier’s players, who tried to score from afar. They also made it difficult for Jack Nunge to contribute in the game from close range.

Adam Kunkel made 5 three-pointers and led the third-seeded Musketeers (27-10) with 21 points. On the other hand, Nunge scored 15 but took 19 shots to get there, while Colby Jones earned 15 points too. Lastly, Boum didn’t make his first field goal until early in the second half and ended up with 12 points overall.

“Xavier’s coach Sean Miller said that the other team was much better than them. It was hard to do their normal offense and score because their defense was so strong.”

Texas was scoring from all over the court, and their star player, Carr was leading the way. He was making incredible tough shots near the basket and even sinking long-range shots as when running out of time on the shot clock. Then when Miller switched up their defense to a zone system, they got the ball inside to Bishop in order to smash it through.

At a game full of family and friends, Bishop from Lee’s Summit, Missouri put on an incredible show. He threw down two dunks off Carr’s lobs and then Allen made a half-court heave to end the first half with Texas in the lead by 42-25. The players were so excited that they got distracted and had to be directed towards their own locker room instead of going for the celebration at Xavier tunnel!

Miller said that facing the Longhorns was challenging because they have great guard play and lots of experience, making it difficult to prepare for the game. Xavier tried to come back multiple times, but Texas kept their lead high throughout the entire game. This gave Terry, who had coaching jobs at Fresno State and UTEP, a chance to relax and savor the moment.

A 54-year-old man from a small town in Texas was part of the staff when the Longhorns basketball team made it to the Elite Eight back in 2008. He also helped guide them to the Final Four in 2003. Now, it looks like he could be very close to taking his team even further and all the way to college basketball’s biggest stage!

Terry said “We should always aim higher and never settle for less. Tonight we will celebrate this victory that we have achieved all year long and move on to the next challenge soon, against Miami!”

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