That same night, the Longhorns played an emotional, hard-fought double overtime thriller to upset No. 16 TCU in a performance head coach Shaka Smart said was inspired by the loss of their second-leading scorer.
On Wednesday, one week later, the Longhorns did it again, scoring an unlikely 67-58 win over No. 8 Texas Tech at home with the backdrop of the loss of Jones on the court hanging heavy.
The game started with a tribute from Texas Tech, whose players wore warm-ups dedicated to Jones during pregame introductions.
Stay strong, Andrew. Keep fighting. pic.twitter.com/sRdJZqZ77j
— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) January 18, 2018
Then the Longhorns went to work, anchored by the strength of their elite defense and an offense that’s playing and shooting above its head in the absence of one of its top playmakers.
The Longhorns stifled the Red Raiders on the floor, holding Texas Tech to just 38.2 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from three-point distance, well below their season shooting averages of 48.6 and 35 percent.
Leading scorer Keenan Evans (17.5 ppg) was held to 11 points and missed all five of his three-point attempts.
For the Longhorns, defensive stalwart forward Mohamed Bamba was his normal stat-sheet-stuffing self, posting 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Texas shot 52.3 percent from the field and 40 percent from distance, let by Kerwin Roach, who logged 20 points in the win.
But the real story here isn’t the box score. It’s that the Longhorns, rather than being devastated by the loss of Jones, have rallied for a pair of big conference upsets and remain competitive in the Big 12.
Tuesday’s win leaves the Longhorns at 12-6 and in fifth place in the Big 12 despite a tough road loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday.