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February 26, 2012

Texas has close call in OT win at Tech

Maybe no one on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee was paying attention to this one. At least Rick Barnes should hope so.

That's how bad Texas (18-11, 8-8 Big 12) looked in the second half of a 71-67 overtime victory over a Texas Tech team in Lubbock that has one Big 12 win (1-15) this season and is 8-20 overall.


TECH'S SECOND-HALF ADJUSTMENT: After a slow start by Texas and falling behind 12-3, the Longhorns went on a 28-5 run to lead by as many as 14 - 31-17 - with 2 minutes left in the first half. But much like Baylor did to Texas on Monday, Tech changed defenses in the second half, and UT went limp.

Red Raiders' coach Billy Gillispie threw a box and one defense at Texas (playing a zone with four players and man-to-man on J'Covan Brown). Tech erased the 14-point deficit and led by as many as 3 on three different occasions.

But UT came back and led by as many as four - 59-55 - with 21 seconds left in regulation. But the Red Raiders wouldn't go away and probably should have won at the end of regulation.

TECH NEARLY PULLS IT OUT: Clint Chapman and Julien Lewis both missed free throws in the final 26 seconds that would have probably put the game out of reach. Texas also turned the ball over twice in the final 30 seconds, including a miscue that gave Tech a great look at a game-winning shot as time expired.

Julien Lewis turned it over and Jaye Crockett had a great, wide-open look from 20 feet, but the ball bounced off the rim.

BRING ON OVERTIME: In overtime, it was all Tech to start as the Red Raiders built a six-point lead - 67-61 - and it appeared Texas' NCAA Tournament hopes were over. But Texas finished with a 10-0 run, fueled by a huge 3 from Lewis with 1:43 left to cut Tech's lead to 67-66.

Myck Kabongo was fouled with 41.1 seconds left and made only one of two free throws, tying the game at 67.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Javarez Willis, who played well for Tech in scoring 15 points, turned the ball over, and J'Covan Brown made a SportsCenter highlight pass - falling out of bounds, with a spin move - found Lewis breaking to the basket for a layup with 9.4 seconds left.

That put Texas up 69-67. Tech's final gasp ended when Terran Petteway was called for traveling with 8.2 seconds left. J'Covan Brown was then fouled with 8 seconds to play and made both free throws, putting Texas up 71-67, and Tech's final shot missed.

The Longhorns' post-season chances could have been erased today. But they weren't.

STATS RECAP: Julien Lewis, who had 4 costly turnovers, also hit some big shots and led Texas with 15 points.

J'Covan Brown struggled offensively (4-of-13 shooting, including 1-of-7 from 3) and turned it over 4 times, but he made all his free throws (5-of-5) and finished with 14 points.

Kabongo, who had 8 assists with 4 costly turnovers, finished with 12 points.

Clint Chapman, who had a dunk on a sweet inbounds play with 41.6 seconds left in regulation, scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds for UT.

UP NEXT: Oklahoma, 8 p.m., Wednesday, Erwin Center, ESPN2
Yet another must-win for the Longhorns before heading to Kansas to wrap up the regular season next Saturday at 8 p.m.

(If the season ended today, Texas would open play in the Big 12 tourney as the No. 6 seed against No. 3 seeded Baylor.)




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