Max Abmas canned a contested, fall-away jumper in the lane with 0.4 seconds remaining to lift No. 19 Texas to a wild 81-80 win over determined Louisville on Sunday afternoon in the Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Longhorns (4-0) will battle No. 5 UConn, a 77-57 winner over Indiana on Sunday, for the tournament title on Monday evening. The Cardinals will play Indiana in the consolation game on Monday afternoon.
Texas led by three points at halftime but relinquished the front with poor shooting to start the second half. The last four minutes featured back-and-forth play with 10 lead changes, the final coming when the Longhorns — trailing by one — forced Louisville into a shot clock violation with 7.9 seconds left.
After a time out, Texas got the ball into the hands of Abmas, who drove into the lane while being covered by the Cardinals’ Skyy Clark and lifted a sideways spinning shot that went in for the win.
Kadin Shedrick led the Longhorns with a career-high 27 points while Abmas added 14 and Ithiel Horton had 10.
Clark and Tre White scored 20 points each to lead the Cardinals (2-2), with Ty-Laur Johnson adding 14 and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield hitting for 11 before fouling out.
Texas led 11-5 after a 7-0 run capped by an alley-oop dunk by Ze’rik Onyema at the 15:27 mark of the first half. A pullup jumper by Horton two minutes later pushed the Longhorns’ lead to nine points before Louisville got back into the game with a 7-0 spurt of its own to close within 16-14 with 11:59 left in the half.
The Cardinals went back to the front at 29-28 on JJ Traynor’s two free throws with 6:10 remaining. Abmas’ driving layup 3 seconds before the buzzer granted the Longhorns a 41-38 advantage at the break after a half that featured three ties and seven lead changes.
Abmas and Shedrick had 10 points apiece to lead the Longhorns before halftime. Huntley-Hatfield paced Louisville with 9 points in the half.
The Cardinals swept back to the lead with a 10-3 run to start the second half when Texas missed its first five shots after halftime.
–Field Level Media
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