Ramey’s reverse layup pushes Texas men past Davidson, 78-76, at Maui Invitational
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — There were no ukulele interludes, and the only leis in sight appeared as heavy with irony as they were with flowers. With Monday’s temperature in Asheville hovering near 40 degrees and with the arena almost empty, the opening game of the Maui Invitational lacked the breezy buzz of years past. But the day’s first matchup provided all the thrills that have come to be expected from the annual heavyweight holiday tournament when Texas edged Davidson, 78-76.
Junior guard Courtney Ramey’s driving reverse layup with just under 20 seconds to go broke a 76-76 tie and put the Longhorns up for good, as Davidson was unable to convert on the other end despite multiple opportunities.
“I just saw an open lane,” said Ramey, who led Texas with 14 points. “My reads were either pass it to Jericho (Sims) or make a play myself, and then Jericho did a good job in the game of just making himself available, so you have to take him away, which freed me up to make a layup.”
Kai Jones and Andrew Jones each added 13 points for Texas (2-0), which will face Indiana in the Maui semifinals on Tuesday. It was Andrew Jones’ first game of the season after he was held out of last week’s season-opening win over UT-Rio Grande Valley because of a cough. He played the entire first half on Monday, scoring 11 points in the opening frame.
“I mean, he’s one of our best players, Andrew, so we are going to have him in there as much as we can,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “He sat out the first game out of a precaution, but he’s really the best scorer on our team overall, and a guy that is really someone the defense has to account for. So, don’t really go into the game planning to play anyone for the whole half, but, again, Courtney had foul trouble and it made sense to keep him in there.”
Matt Coleman III played 39 minutes, stepping up when Ramey found himself in foul trouble in the first half and again when Jones was whistled for his third and fourth personals early in the second. Coleman finished with 10 points and a game-high nine assists.
“Matt, Courtney, and Andrew, those are our guys” Smart said. “We want to have at least two of them in the game most of the time, sometimes three. Andrew was in foul trouble for quite awhile there. He picked up his fourth foul before I could get him out when he had three, so that meant that Matt and Courtney really needed to play the majority of the second half. Courtney was in foul trouble, so Matt needed to play the majority of the first half.”
In all, six Texas players finished with double-figures. Sam Mennenga led Davidson with 17 points and five rebounds and Kellan Grady added 14.