Texas, Memphis move on

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

ATLANTA (AP) — Kenton Paulino beat West Virginia at its own game, hitting a 3-pointer as time expired to give Texas a 74-71 victory over the Mountaineers on Thursday night in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Kevin Pittsnogle made a 3-pointer for West Virginia to tie it with 5 seconds left, but Paulino answered with his 3-pointer for Texas as the buzzer sounded.

Officials quickly huddled to confirm Paulino’s shot was good.

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LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points for second-seeded Texas (30-6), and Pittsnogle led the Mountaineers (22-11) with 19.

Texas is in the round of eight for the first time since 2003, when it advanced to the Final Four. The Longhorns will play LSU on Saturday in the Atlanta Regional final. LSU beat top-seed Duke 62-54 earlier Thursday.

West Virginia was denied a second straight appearance in the round of eight.

West Virginia, the No. 6 seed in the regional, rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to briefly take the lead, but the Longhorns — led by the inside play of Aldridge — answered the challenge.

With 1:29 left to play, Pittsnogle was called for a foul on Aldridge, though it was Pittsnogle who came away from the contact with a bloody nose.

Aldridge made one of two free throws for a 68-65 lead. A.J. Abrams added two free throws with 26.9 seconds left to make it 70-65.

Mike Gansey, who had 18 points for West Virginia, hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left to cut it to 70-68.

Memphis 80, Bradley 64

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Rodney Carney kept top-seeded Memphis from becoming another victim of Bradley’s surprising NCAA run.

Carney contributed on both ends of the floor Thursday, scoring 23 points and leading a stingy defense that gave Memphis an 80-64 victory and put the Tigers in the regional final for the first time since 1992 — back when Anfernee Hardaway was the star.

Darius Washington Jr. added 18 points and Shawne Williams had 12 points and eight rebounds as Memphis won the third round of the Oakland Regional, its seventh straight victory.

Carney raised his arms in the air in celebration after a two-handed jam midway through the second half, one of several emphatic dunks by the 6-foot-7 forward who was virtually unknown when he first arrived at Memphis. Now, he is one win from finishing his stellar collegiate career in his hometown of Indianapolis for the Final Four.

Coach John Calipari’s young Tigers (33-3), an NIT team last season, advanced to Saturday’s regional final against the winner of Thursday’s late game between second-seeded UCLA and No. 3 Gonzaga. The Tigers beat both those teams early this season.

Patrick O’Bryant had 11 of his 14 rebounds in the first half and only scored eight points for Bradley (22-11), which at No. 13 was the lowest seed still alive in the tournament. The Braves will return home to another hero’s welcome after they put the program on the map and brought national attention to the town of Peoria, Ill., where they play.

The Braves had been the NCAA spoiler so far after beating Kansas and Pittsburgh to reach their first regional semifinal since 1955 when it was 24-team tournament, but they began the second half 4-for-16 and struggled to get open looks at the basket against speedy, aggressive Memphis.

Bradley committed 14 first-half turnovers, then took better care of the ball after halftime but couldn’t make shots. Coach Jim Les was whistled for a technical with 8:29 remaining for arguing, a sign of his team’s frustration down the stretch.

After the Braves cut the lead to seven with 12:25 left, Williams hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down that started a 7-0 Memphis run that also featured a dunk by Carney.

The 7-foot O’Bryant faced two or three defenders almost every time he caught the ball in the paint. Marcellus Sommerville led Bradley with 18 points — making nine of 10 free throws — and eight rebounds and Lawrence Wright added 14 points.

Memphis forward Joey Dorsey picked up a technical, his seventh of the season, with 16:28 remaining after jawing with Wright. Dorsey’s teammates were furious with his lack of composure and got in his face to let him know it. Sommerville hit both free throws to pull Bradley within 42-35.

The Tigers weren’t about to let one guy bring them down.

Memphis, the Conference USA regular-season and tournament champion, led 35-30 at halftime and started the second half with a 7-0 spurt to take control for good.

Bradley missed five shots and committed three turnovers in its first seven possessions and fell behind 7-0 before taking a timeout at 17:45. O’Bryant finally got the Braves on the board with a putback at 16:27.