(6) North Carolina 75

(19-11, 8-8 ACC)

(3) Texas 78

(25-7, 12-4 Big 12)

    8:10 PM ET, March 20, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    1 2 T
    #6UNC 39 3675
    #3TEX 44 3478

    Texas clinches third straight Sweet 16 trip

    DENVER (AP) -- North Carolina coach Roy Williams was worried about Texas' big front line and deep bench.

    Seems he knew what he was talking about.

    Royal Ivey had 17 points and 11 Texas players scored, lifting the Longhorns into the NCAA Tournament's second weekend for the third straight year with a 78-75 win over the Tar Heels Saturday night.

    Dick Vitale's Tourney Take
    The Longhorns built a big lead and the Tar Heels just did not have enough in the end to overcome that early hole. Rashad McCants had a solid game but the fact that Sean May was not able to do much inside hurt Carolina big-time. The Horns also got a solid game from Royal Ivey, and while James Thomas may not have had great stats he did a superb job against May on the interior.
    More on Saturday's Games
    Texas (25-7) had 36 points in the paint and its reserves outscored North Carolina's 34-7. The Longhorns advanced to the Atlanta Regional semifinals against Xavier.

    North Carolina (19-11) held Brandon Mouton to 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting, but couldn't contain the rest of the Longhorns -- particularly inside. Rashad McCants had 27 points and Jawad Williams 17 for the Heels, but they didn't get much help.

    North Carolina shot 38 percent to end Roy Williams' first year at his alma mater in the second round.

    North Carolina didn't have a second-half field goal until Jawad Williams hit a jumper from the free throw line at 17:04 and the Tar Heels missed 10 of their first 12 shots with Texas pushing its lead to 57-44.

    But McCants wouldn't let the Longhorns pull away.

    He hit a 3-pointer to get North Carolina within 10, followed with a steal and layup a few minutes later, then bowled over Ivey in the post for a layup that made it 57-53 with just under 11 minutes left.

    Texas went up 62-56 on Brian Boddicker's 3-pointer from the corner, but McCants came right back with a runner in the lane a few seconds later.

    McCants couldn't bring the Tar Heels all the way back.

    Texas went on a 7-0 run to go up 11 with 5 minutes left before North Carolina whittled the lead to 75-72 on Melvin Scott's 3-pointer with 25 seconds left.

    The Tar Heels had a final chance after Raymond Felton hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left and D.J. Tucker went 1-of-2 on free throws at the other end, but McCants shot an airball on a leaner at the buzzer.

    Both teams seemed to enjoy a little freedom after facing slow-it-down teams in the first round; Texas had trouble with Princeton's deliberate style before pulling away in the second half, and North Carolina did the same against Air Force.

    Pace wasn't much of a problem in this one, with the teams matching each other almost shot for shot in a blistering first half.

    Texas' Kenton Paulino and Felton got things going by trading 3-pointers four minutes in, then Williams dunked over Brad Buckman for a three-point play after a steal and drop pass by Felton.

    Mouton squared up for a 3-pointer on one end, and McCants followed with consecutive 3s at the other. McCants knocked down another from long range with 9 minutes left, but Kenny Taylor answered five seconds later with a spot-up 3 that put the Tar Heels up 27-26.

    Texas kept it going with its revolving door from the bench, with 10 players combining to shoot 60 percent for a 44-39 halftime lead.

    McCants did most of North Carolina's damage, shooting 6-of-11 for 15 points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press



    » Mar 20, 2004 @TEX 78, UNC 75Recap