On Monday night, the No.20 Texas Longhorns got their signature win of the season by defeating the No.8 Kansas Jayhawks 79-76 in Austin.

Timmy Allen led the Longhorns in scoring with 24 points and also added nine rebounds. Of those points, 18 came after halftime, and at times, he appeared to be single-handedly carrying Texas to the win. Allen is an unconventional player for this era of basketball. At 6’6″, he is undersized for his power forward position, and he does not shoot three-pointers.

His points come the hard way: through an array of mid-range jump shots and tough finishes at the rim. He does not shy away from contact and had three and-one finishes in this game. Allen was named the best player of the game on ESPN’s TV broadcast for his performance and may have cemented his spot as the No.1 option on this deep Longhorns team.

Tre Mitchell was second in scoring for Texas with 17 points. None of Mitchell’s points were more significant than a three-pointer with 56.4 seconds remaining that cut a Kansas lead to one point. Up to that point, Mitchell had gone 0-of-5 from three-point range. His three-pointer began a 7-0 run by Texas to close the game.

The Longhorns forced Ochai Agbaji into a turnover on the ensuing Jayhawks possession. Agbaji entered the game as the leading scorer in the Big 12 Conference, averaging 20.8 points per game. However, in this game, he was limited to only 11 points and turned the ball over three times.

Agbaji’s third turnover led to a mid-range jump shot by Allen with 18.5 seconds remaining that gave Texas a 77-76 lead. Kansas still had time for a game-winning shot, but the ball slipped out of Dajuan Harris’ hands as he drove to the basket. Marcus Carr caught it out of the air and was fouled, sending him to the foul line where he would hit both free throws to give Texas the 79-76 lead with 6.8 seconds remaining. Carr would finish with ten points and four assists.

The Jayhawks Jalen Wilson was intentionally fouled on the following possession before attempting a game-tying three-pointer with 2.8 seconds left. Wilson missed both free throws at the foul line, and the Longhorns rebounded the ball to end the game and secure their third win over an Associated Press Top 25 team in the last four games.

“Tonight was a good step in the right direction.” first-year Texas coach Chris Beard said postgame. “I know you guys get tired of the steadiness, but it’s [the] next game on the schedule, protecting our home court against a team that’s a Final Four contender. But you guys understand, I believe we’re a Final Four contender. I haven’t wavered while some outside of our circle have.”

This win is without question the best of the season for the Longhorns. Kansas (19-4, 8-2 Big 12) is the first-place team in the Big 12 and a perennial championship contender under legendary Hall of Fame head coach Bill Self. What makes this an even greater win for Texas (18-6, 7-4) is that they deviated from their typical way of winning games.

The Longhorns have hung their hat on defense all season. Their previous 17 wins all came with their opponent scoring under 60 points. Entering the game with Kansas, they held the nation’s best scoring defense, allowing an average of just below 55 points per game.

“If you had told us before the game that we’d hang 76 on Texas, that’s a good deal for us,” coach Self joked after the game.

The Longhorns offense prevailed by scoring 79 points, the most they have scored against a Big 12 opponent all season. The previous high was 74 points in the Big 12 conference opener against West Virginia.

Despite the win and 79 points scored, Texas coach Chris Beard was unhappy with the team’s untypical defensive performance and poor three-point shooting.

“We didn’t play Texas defense tonight in terms of their percentages and the points they scored,” Beard said. “We’d like to use the three-point shot as a weapon, and it wasn’t great to us tonight.”

For Texas to get this win is remarkable, given they made a measly 3-of-20 (15%) three-point attempts and 28-of-67 (41.8%) total shot attempts. In contrast, Kansas made 5-of-13 (38.5%) from three-point range, and 28-of-48 (58.3%) overall.

“How do we win the game? We get more shots on goal,” Beard said. “We got 19 more shots than them. And, how do you do that? You out-rebound them.”

Offensive rebounds were a significant difference, with the Longhorns grabbing 15 and the Jayhawks managing to bring down six. Christian Bishop was a big reason why, as he alone brought in eight offensive boards for Texas. Overall, Bishop finished with ten rebounds to go with six points.

Allen praised Bishop’s hard work grabbing rebounds after the game.

“He’s been playing like a man,” Allen said. “It’s funny because when we first met each other, he told me that he loves to do things that don’t show up in the box score, and it shows. Just getting extra possessions, getting everybody going, and the energy he brings.”

Texas will have to come down from this monumental win quickly as they face another championship-contending team next. The Longhorns will look to get their fourth win in five games against AP Top 25 opponents when they go on the road to face the No.10 Baylor Bears on Saturday, February 12.