MILWAUKEE (AP) — There was no way to plan for the two errant shots that doomed Arizona State, and that made the loss even more difficult for the Sun Devils.
Jordan Bachynski tried to get over to block Cameron Ridley’s shot as the final seconds ticked off, but the big center banked it in as time expired to lift No. 7 seed Texas to an 87-85 victory over Arizona State in the NCAA tournament on Thursday night.
“It’s a tough one, it’s a tough way to end the game and end my career,” said Bachynski, one of the premier shot blockers in the country.
Jonathan Holmes missed badly on a long 3-pointer for the Longhorns in the final seconds, but Ridley emerged from the scrum of hands and scored as the buzzer sounded. The call stood after a video replay, handing Texas its first tourney win since 2011.
“I went to the glass as hard as I could, and I tried to get it as hard as I could and it went in,” Ridley said.
The 10th-seeded Sun Devils also had another bad break on a loose ball in the final minute.
Arizona State had an 83-82 lead when Holmes grabbed an air ball by Javan Felix and scored while being fouled by Jonathan Gilling. He made the resulting foul shot with 32 seconds to go.
Gilling made two free throws on the other end, setting up the frantic finish. Gilling had four 3-pointers and 15 points for the Sun Devils, who lost their last four games of the season.
“We talked about them being a really good offensive rebounding team,” he said. “That’s what killed us the last two possessions.”
Ridley had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Longhorns (24-10), who led by 14 with 12 minutes left. Freshman reserve Martez Walker had 16 points and Demarcus Holland scored 14 on 6-for-6 shooting from the field.
“That’s something you are going to remember for the rest of your life,” Holmes said.
Texas will face No. 2 seed Michigan in the third round on Saturday. The Wolverines advanced with a 57-40 victory over Wofford.
Bachynski had 25 points and seven rebounds for No. 10 seed Arizona State (21-12), which was making its first tournament appearance since 2009. Jahii Carson had 19 points and nine assists, and Jermaine Marshall added 17 points and seven rebounds.
“Yeah, coming down in March, every game is pretty much decided by one possession and that one possession didn’t fall our way,” Carson said.
Several Sun Devils just laid down in front of their bench after Ridley’s final shot, and Bachynski slowly walked off the court with his hands on the back of his head. He was oh so close to blocking the winning layup.
“It was a great, great college basketball game,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “I thought it was really unfortunate that either team has to lose this game. We were fortunate. We were really fortunate.”
The battle of at-large teams in the Midwest Regional featured a pair of coaches with a long history together. Barnes first met Sendek at a 1978 basketball camp at the University of Pittsburgh, and Barnes had Sendek on his staff for one season when he was in charge at Providence. They also coached against each other for years in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Their only other meeting in the NCAA tournament occurred in 2006, when Texas beat North Carolina State 75-54 in the round of 32.
It was a breakneck pace at the very start, with Bachynski’s jumper for Arizona State tying it at 21 with 12:32 to go. But Texas responded with a 9-0 run, beginning with Walker’s two free throws and ending with Walker’s 3 from the wing.
Walker added a layup with 31 seconds left to help the Longhorns to a 41-36 halftime lead. He had 10 points on the break, and Isiah Taylor added nine points and five assists.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.