Aldridge’s late bucket boosts No. 2 Texas past Mountaineers
Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) – LaMarcus Aldridge’s basket with 3.6 seconds
left in the game lifted second-ranked Texas to a thrilling 76-75 win over No.
13 West Virginia in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic.
Aldridge also had a huge block on Mike Gansey in the waning seconds to seal
the victory for the Longhorns (3-0), who will play the winner of the
Iowa/Kentucky matchup in the final of this tourney on Tuesday.
Daniel Gibson finished with a team-high 20 points and P.J. Tucker chipped in
19 points, as the Longhorns shot 53 percent from the floor.
Gansey led all scorers with 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting. Joe Herber
contributed 16 points for West Virginia (2-1), which made 48 percent of its
Gansey extended West Virginia’s halftime lead to 10 points at 48-38 with a
long three-pointer early in the second stanza. However, Texas responded with a
13-0 run for a 51-48 edge.
West Virginia regained the lead after four straight points, but the game
turned into a see-saw battle after that.
With the score tied at 67, J.D. Collins sank two foul shots to put West
Virginia ahead by two. Each team then exchanged buckets until Gansey’s layup
with about a minute to go gave the Mountaineers a 75-72 edge.
Tucker pulled the Longhorns within 75-74 on a hard-fought basket with 15.4
seconds remaining. Kevin Pittsnogle was immediately fouled and the big man
missed a free throw, setting up a huge turnaround for Texas.
Aldridge battled underneath the hoop and his kiss off the glass made it a
76-75 contest with 3.6 seconds to go.
West Virginia then worked the ball from coast-to-coast, but Gansey was stuffed
by Aldridge down low as time expired. No foul was called and Texas escaped
with the triumph.
“I was just trying to block the shot and not foul,” Aldridge said after the
game. “I’ll take it.”
Gibson, who buried 5-of-6 three-pointers in the first half, drained a shot
from beyond the arc for a 16-14 Texas lead early in the game. After Gansey
later put West Virginia ahead 26-24, Gibson nailed another three to put the
Longhorns up by one.
Gansey caught fire as time wound down in the first half, scoring five straight
points for a 37-31 West Virginia advantage. The Mountaineers then headed to
the locker room with a 40-35 edge thanks to a 12-4 run.
Gansey led all scorers at halftime with 18 points, while Gibson paced the
Longhorns with 17 points. Gansey was 8-of-14 from the floor after 20 minutes.
Aldridge had 15 points, while teammate Brad Buckman netted 12…Texas had a
40-21 advantage on the boards.