Longhorns going to Big 12 final
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – P.J. Tucker poured in 26 points , pulled
down 13 rebounds and dished out four assists to lead No. 8 Texas over
intrastate rival Texas A&M, 74-70, in the semifinals of the 10th annual Big 12
Conference Tournament at the American Airlines Center.
“Anybody on my team can tell you I am a motivated player every single game,”
Tucker said after the win. “I haven’t played in a Big 12 tournament since my
freshman year, so I am motivated here by getting a chance to play. I don’t
think specific teams motivate me, but just playing basketball does.”
Kenton Paulino added 15 points for the Longhorns (27-5), who set a school
record with their 27th victory of the year and will move on to face
off against Kansas in the tourney championship on Sunday. Daniel Gibson
recorded 11 points in the win.
Josh Carter netted 25 points and pulled down seven boards for the Aggies
(21-8), who now will wait to see if they earned an at-large bid to the NCAA
tournament. Acie Law donated 16 points and distributed seven assists while
Joseph Jones had 14 points in the loss.
“This was a very competitive game against a great team,” Texas A&M coach Billy
Gillispie said. “I think we got not a great team but a pretty damn good team
ourself, and give those guys credit for winning. They did a great job. We
couldn’t handle them in the lane.”
Down by 13 at the half, Texas A&M slowly began to chip away at the lead.
Dominique Kirk’s three with just over 12 minute left brought the Aggies to
within two, 49-47.
Carter’s trey with 6:13 left in the game finally deadlocked things at 62.
After Tucker connected with a lay-in, Law scored four straight to give the
Texas A&M its first lead, 66-64, since the score was 18-16.
Paulino responded, with 2:59 remaining, by draining a huge three that put
Texas back on top, 67-66.
A little over a minute later, Tucker drove across the lane and found Brad
Buckman underneath for an easy lay-in to extend the Longhorns lead back to
Texas A&M answered by flattening out its offense for Law who penetrated from
the top and recorded an easy lay-in. The bucket made it 69-68, with just 1:23
Thirty-six seconds later Tucker missed a jumper but LaMarcus Aldridge pulled
down a huge offensive rebound and put it back to give Texas some breathing
Jones tried to tie it with 12 ticks left, but his contested three from
the left corner came up way short. Texas A&M immediately fouled and the
Longhorns made enough of their free throws in the final seconds to secure the
“We really beat an outstanding team today,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes.
“This is a team that we respect as much as any team we have played this year
and the fact that they play hard. They compete every possession.”
Texas closed the half with a 25-12 burst to take a 43-30 advantage into
intermission. Tucker paced the Longhorns with 15 at the half while Carter had
12 for the Aggies.
Carter connected on a career-high six three-pointers in the game…Texas now
leads the all-time series, 128-81…The Longhorns are 11-9 in the Big 12