New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Ishmael Smith capped a furious rally on his game-winning jumper with 1.3 seconds left, and Wake Forest recovered from an eight-point overtime deficit to edge Texas, 81-80, in an East Region matchup at New Orleans Arena.
The Demon Deacons (20-10) trailed by a score of 76-68 with three minutes remaining but rallied back, as Smith's mid-range shot fell after Texas' Gary Johnson went 0-for-2 from the free throw line with 10 seconds left.
Smith ended with 19 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for Wake Forest, which will next take on top-seeded Kentucky on Saturday. The Deacons, who have now won five games in overtime this season, received 20 points and 15 boards from Al-Farouq Aminu and 11 points apiece from Tony Woods and Ari Stewart.
J'Covan Brown led the Longhorns (24-10) with 20 points, but Texas' disappointing season came to a crushing end. The Longhorns stood as the top team in the country as late as January after a 17-0 start but struggled mightily down the stretch, losing 10 of their last 17 games.
Jordan Hamilton provided 19 points in the setback, while senior Damion James scored 16 with six rebounds in his final collegiate game.
After James missed a potential game-winning half-court shot at the buzzer, Texas got off to a good start in overtime with back-to-back three-pointers from Brown and Hamilton.
Hamilton's three, which resulted from a steal on the inbounds pass, was followed by another steal, leading to two James free throws for a 76-68 lead with three minutes to go.
A Woods putback slam and two free throws from C.J. Harris trimmed the Wake Forest deficit in half in just 30 seconds, and another Woods dunk kept the margin at four, 78-74, entering the final minute.
Brown was fouled on the ensuing play, but the freshman, who converted 89.8 percent of his free throws this season, inexplicably missed both attempts. Stewart answered with two from the line for Wake Forest to make it a two-point game with 35.4 seconds remaining.
Brown was successful on his next trip to the line, restoring a four-point cushion on two makes with 28.2 showing on the clock. Stewart had another response this time, drilling a three from the corner with 15.9 ticks to go for an 80-79 game.
The Texas inbound pass went to Brown, who was immediately double teamed. He gave the ball to Johnson, and he was fouled. Johnson, who converted free throws at a 70.1 percent clip, also missed both, giving Wake Forest a chance to win.
Smith got the ball and dribbled up the court, pulling up from just inside the three-point line for a jumper that fell through the hoop. The Longhorns' last ditch attempt did not reach the rim.
A tightly contested first half had Texas ahead by a 38-37 score, but Wake Forest opened the second half on a 7-0 burst to grab a six-point lead on a pair of Aminu free throws.
The Deacons' advantage reached as much as 12 before the Longhorns rallied back. James capped an 8-0 burst from the line with 10 minutes left for a four- point game, although Wake Forest was able to keep Texas at arms' length down the stretch.
Brown's three with 49.3 seconds left finally drew the Longhorns even at 67- all, but a Harris free throw put Wake Forest back ahead by a point just seconds later.
Following a jump ball that gave the Deacons possession, a traveling call on an inbound pass gave Texas another chance with 13.6 ticks to go. James drove to the hoop on the ensuing play, was fouled and made one from the line to tie the game.
Wake never got a chance to put up a potential game-winning bucket, as L.D. Williams turned the ball over. James' desperate attempt from his own foul line was just off the mark to send the game to overtime.
Wake Forest leads the all-time series, 4-1, including a 2-0 mark in NCAA Tournament games against Texas...The Deacons outrebounded the Longhorns by a 59-34 margin, including 20-10 on the offensive glass...Wake Forest committed 20 turnovers, compared to only five for Texas...The Demon Deacons had 25 second chance points, while the Longhorns had seven...Johnson and Avery Bradley scored nine points apiece for Texas...Williams scored nine for Wake.