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Texas guard Andrew Jones scores career-high 20 points in return from leukemia

Texas guard Andrew Jones isn’t on any of the preseason watch lists, but on college basketball’s opening night, he turned in what will be one of the season’s most inspiring performances.

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The redshirt sophomore guard missed most of the past two seasons as he battled leukemia. But he entered Tuesday’s game with 13:50 left in the first half and went to work. Jones poured in a career-best 20 points in 29 minutes of action as the Longhorns defeated Northern Colorado, 69-45.

“It was a great feeling to be back out there,” Jones said after the game. “I didn’t have any jitters. I wasn’t nervous.”

Jones’ previous best was 19 points against VCU in December 2017, back when he was leading the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game. But he was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2018 and missed the rest of the season. He made brief appearances in two games last season, but was still undergoing treatment.

Jones finished his treatments in September and has been practicing with the team ever since.

“I’m happy for Andrew,” Texas coach Shaka Smart said. “I’m happy for his family. Sometimes in life, when you are dealt a tough hand, it’s really about how you respond. He was the best offensive player on the floor. He played with great energy. He played with an aggressive, confident and loose mindset.”

Jones finds confidence in Christ. He told reporters last year, “It’s a choice whether if you want to just continue to go on and fight through adversity, or you can just sit there and let it take over you. Most people don’t have the mental strength or even just the drive to want to do it, but anything is possible. Through the grace of God, anything is possible.”

Throughout his journey, Jones has often posted inspirational Bible verses or messages on Twitter:

After the strong opening game, Jones figures to battle for a spot in the starting lineup. The Longhorns hit the road for their next game, Saturday at No. 23 Purdue.

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