(10) NC State 54

(22-10, 10-6 ACC)

(2) Texas 75

(29-6, 13-4 Big 12)

    4:45 PM ET, March 19, 2006

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

    1 2 T
    #10NCST 33 2154
    #2TEX 38 3775

    Top Performers

    NC State: C. Simmons 12 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Blk

    Texas: P. Tucker 17 Pts, 11 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Solid guard play helps Texas trounce NC State

    DALLAS (AP) -- A.J. Abrams certainly got over those jitters that bothered him in his NCAA Tournament debut.

    In his second tourney game Sunday, the Texas freshman guard was only doing what his coach told him to do. Abrams was aggressive and took open shots, scoring 16 points as the Longhorns advanced to the Atlanta Regional semifinal with a 75-54 victory over North Carolina State.

    "He was a little jumpy the other night and we got him for it," coach Rick Barnes said. "He had a great response. He definitely had a different perspective on things."

    With Abrams and the starting backcourt of Daniel Gibson and Kenton Paulino playing the way they did, the dynamic inside duo of P.J. Tucker and LaMarcus Aldridge didn't have to dominate for Texas (29-6) to get into the round of 16 for the fourth time in five seasons.

    Abrams was scoreless on 0-of-3 shooting in 18 minutes Friday against Penn. Gibson and Paulino were held without a point in the first half of that game, when the Longhorns trailed.

    But Gibson and Paulino got the Longhorns off to a fast start against N.C. State with their 3-point shooting. Then Abrams came through in two key stretches, including 10 points in the second half after Paulino picked up his third foul.

    "He's the rookie, but he's one of the best players I've ever played with," said Tucker, the Big 12 player of the year. "He knows how to play the point guard position. He can move the ball around and get shots for us."

    North Carolina State (22-10) was within 42-37 when Gavin Grant shuffled the ball to Cedric Simmons for a one-handed slam dunk with 15:45 left. After a timeout, Abrams hit a 3-pointer.

    The Wolfpack then had four turnovers and missed two shots on their next five possessions before Tony Bethel's 3-pointer from the right corner bounced on the rim several times before falling.

    Then it was Abrams' turn. He scored the next seven points.

    "We knew he was a good shooter," Bethel said. "Because of their offense, their guards are going to get open looks. He knocked down some tough ones. He stepped up for them."

    Abrams hit a jumper at the other end and then added a 3-pointer. After his two free throws with 8:50 left put Texas up 56-40, he went to the bench to a standing ovation from the partisan Longhorns crowd as Paulino re-entered the game.

    "I think I got over my jitters last game. ... I felt more comfortable," Abrams said.

    Gibson already had 11 points when he made his third 3-pointer to put the Longhorns up 23-11 midway through the first half. Paulino had two 3s in the first five minutes, the second after Aldridge blocked a shot.

    But after North Carolina State got within 32-30 on Cameron Bennerman's layup and a timeout, Abrams made a 3-pointer and was fouled. He added the free throw and then made another basket before halftime to give Texas a 38-33 lead.

    "He'd passed up two shots. During that timeout, I told him he better take the next shot he had," Barnes said.

    The second-seeded Longhorns play West Virginia (22-10) in Atlanta on Thursday in the Atlanta Regional.

    Tucker, who is from Raleigh, N.C., but wasn't offered a scholarship by the hometown Wolfpack, still had 17 points and 10 rebounds. And Aldridge, the league's defensive player of the year, had 10 points on 2-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds.

    Those numbers were similar to what Tucker and Aldridge had in the 60-52 victory over Penn, but they didn't get much help in that game.

    "With their inside prowess, it makes it more challenging to guard them," Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said. "What makes them so special is their balanced. Stopping that trio of guards is equally challenging."

    Texas is still four wins away from following its football and baseball teams as national champions; no school has ever held all three crowns at the same time. Mack Brown, the Longhorns' football coach, attended Sunday.

    Bennerman had 16 points to lead N.C. State, which was trying to advance to the round of 16 as No. 10 seed for the second year in a row. The Wolfpack were the only team that entered the tourney with a four-game losing streak, then beat California in the first round.

    "I hope this year is not judged by our last four losses because we had a very good season," said Ilian Evtimov, the fourth-year starter who had two points on 1-of-6 shooting. "We should be judged by our good body of work."

    Grant had 14 points and Simmons 12 for N.C. State, which made its fifth straight NCAA appearance and won at least 21 games for the third straight season.

    The Wolfpack made seven of 27 shots (26 percent) in the second half after making 15-of-29 before halftime. And they were 3-for-22 on 3-pointers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 54 75
    FG Made-Attempted 22-56 (.393) 26-56 (.464)
    3P Made-Attempted 3-22 (.136) 8-19 (.421)
    FT Made-Attempted 7-12 (.583) 15-19 (.789)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 22


    » Mar 19, 2006 @TEX 75, NCST 54Recap