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Texas clinches third straight Sweet 16 trip

3/22/2004

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.

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.