Texas guard Kerwin Roach left it all on the floor, including a tooth, in the Longhorns’ 68-64 victory over Iowa State on Wednesday in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament.
The victory allowed Texas to keep alive its NCAA Tournament hopes. The Longhorns are considered a bubble team, and a loss to the tournament’s bottom seed could have damaged their chances.
But Texas got big plays down the stretch — a free-throw-line jumper from Matt Coleman and a stickback by Jericho Sims were the team’s final two baskets and allowed the Longhorns to maintain four-point leads. Sims also had 15 rebounds, coming up big as freshman star Mo Bamba sat out for the third straight game because of a toe injury.
Roach finished with a busy stat line: nine points, seven assists and six rebounds. He also finished the game without a tooth.
He was on the defensive end in the first half, guarding Iowa State freshman Lindell Wigginton, when Wigginton’s elbow caught Roach in the mouth on a drive.
Part of Roach’s tooth fell to the floor.
At halftime, according to the Longhorns, Roach’s tooth was reattached by Chiefs dentist Bill Busch.
“It just split in half,” Roach said. “They basically glued it back together. I still can feel the glue on my teeth.”
Roach played the second half with a mouthpiece.
Texas, the seventh seed, improved to 19-13 and will face No. 2 Texas Tech in the quarterfinal round Thursday.
Iowa State had won three of the last four Big 12 tournaments, including last year. But they arrived in Kansas City as the last-place team and No. 10 seed. Their season would last as long as they did in Kansas City.
The Cyclones hung tough against a team that defeated them twice during the regular season. Texas opened a nine-point lead early in the second half but Iowa State took brief leads on several occasions in the second half, the last one at 56-55 on a Wigginton free throw with 5:50 remaining.
But Iowa State, 13-18, couldn’t come up with the big basket down the stretch.