Allen’s late free throw lifts Texas above No. 18 Vols 52-51

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas rolled out the welcome mat for Rick Barnes’ return to campus, then pulled it out from under him with a free throw at the end.

Timmy Allen’s free throw with 6 seconds left sent Texas to a 52-51 win over No. 18 Tennessee in the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday night after the Volunteers rallied by 17 points in the second half.

The ultra-thin victory spoiled the comeback party for Volunteers coach Barnes, who led the Longhorns program for 17 seasons from 1998 to 2015, a stint that included a Final Four in 2003 and 402 wins, the most in the school history.

And Barnes has come so close to winning his first visit to Austin as a guest coach, seven years after being fired from Texas despite all that success.


“I recognize the obvious: the return of Coach Barnes, the emotion in this game. To deny that’s not true,” Texas freshman coach Chris Beard said. “It was a good night for Texas basketball.”

Allen missed his first attempt, then made his second to put the Longhorns ahead. After calling time out, Tennessee scrambled to get the ball back on the field for Josiah-Jordan James’ 3-point attempt that bounced off the rim before Texas pushed the rebound away.

Allen had missed two late free throws in a loss to Kansas State and shrugged off mounting pressure after missing his first attempt with the game on the line.

“Coach Beard said I was going to win a game down the line later in the season,” Allen said. “I have prepared myself for this moment.”

Courtney Ramey scored 18 points to lead Texas (16-5), who appeared to be in complete control when he made a 3-pointer and then a layup scoop that made it 51-37 with 4:49 left. player.

Tennessee then stormed and straight 3-pointers from James and Zakai Zeigler got them in the six. Victor Baileý’s flying point on a missed 3-point Zeigler tied it at 51-51,

Tennessee had a chance to take the lead but Santiago Miscovi missed a 3-point attempt late in the shot clock. Texas won the rebound before Allen fouls for the game-winning free throw.

“They obviously turned up the heat,” Allen said during the rally. “Just closing games, that’s a problem we’ve had, stepping on your throat and ending the game. We’ll work on that.

Zeigler scored 12 points to lead Tennessee (14-6) and sparked the rally that nearly robbed Barnes of the win.

Texas hosted a Barnes comeback party with a rare sold-out crowd, a pre-whistleblower video tribute and a halftime presentation from a dozen of its former players. Current Longhorns players, who were still in college the last time Barnes was in the building, wore warm-up shirts with “Thank You Coach Barnes” and a picture of him cutting the net after a big win.

“Seventeen great years here at this university,” Barnes said. “It was special. I really appreciate that…I said for years that I didn’t want to come back, I didn’t want it to affect me, but it did.

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: The Volunteers ran into the kind of stifling defense they typically use against opponents and a miserable start to the second half put them in a big hole. Tennessee missed eight of its first nine shots of the half as Texas turned a tight game into a double-digit lead. The Volunteers shot just 36 percent for the game, but partly rallied on 15 offensive rebounds and 22 points off Texas turnovers.

“Happy with the way we fought until the end,” Barnes said. “We have guys who are refusing shots for some reason that I just don’t know. We finally got aggressive and started playing hard.

Texas: The Longhorns got their best win of the season with their first against a ranked opponent. Texas shot 54 percent, but started to pass open shots and went too far in the shot clock after building the big lead. They also started to get sloppy and it was a 10-second half-court violation that set up the late tying basket.

TOUGH ROAD TRIP:

Beard now faces his own personal road trip when the Longhorns return to the Big 12 with a visit to Texas Tech, where he coached for five seasons before leaving for Texas. His stint in Lubbock included an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Finals and he’s sure to get a rowdy salute from Red Raiders fans. The Texas Tech Twitter account showed Red Raiders fans already camped out Saturday night for Tuesday’s game.

FOLLOWING

Tennessee: Hosts Texas A&M on Tuesday

Texas: Plays at Texas Tech on Tuesday. Longhorns freshman coach Chris Beard coached the Red Raiders for five seasons before coming to Texas.

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