Monday, March 24, 2008

TEXAS 75, MIAMI 72

A.J. Abrams made two free throws with 9.5 seconds remaining, giving the second-seeded Longhorns just enough margin to hold off seventh-seeded Miami 75-72 in the second round of the South Regional on Sunday.

Texas led by as many as 17 and was ahead 66-50 with 4:15 remaining before a dramatic rally by the Hurricanes.

"We won so I'm really not sweating it anymore," said the Longhorns' Damion James, who missed a pair of free throws in the final half-minute.

"Just go back to practice and shoot free throws and hope to get better."

Texas (30-6) led 74-69 after Abrams' final free throws, but the Longhorns weren't quite safe yet. Miami's Raymond Hicks made a 3-pointer, and D.J. Augustin then shot an air ball on his first of two free throws with 1.8 seconds to play.

"I shot it a little short," Augustin said.

The timing couldn't have been worse. Arkansas fans, putting it mildly, do not care for Texas. They'd booed the Longhorns before each of their two games at Alltel Arena, but had to quiet down as Texas played beautifully against Austin Peay in the first round and then for most of the Miami game.

In the final minutes Sunday, it was loud again.

"Everyone was against us, it seemed," James said.
Augustin made his second free throw at the end, and Miami's long pass was broken up. Texas advances to the regional semifinals to play third-seeded Stanford on Friday.

Abrams scored 26 points on six 3-pointers for the second consecutive game. The Longhorns went 13-of-26 from 3-point range, including 9-for-16 in the first half. They nearly made up for that by going 12-of-21 on free throws.

James added 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Longhorns, and Augustin contributed 12 points and eight assists.

Miami coach Frank Haith was an assistant at Texas for three years under Rick Barnes before taking over the Hurricanes in 2004. He and Barnes shared a hug and chatted briefly near the Miami bench about 15 minutes before the opening tip.

Barnes has Texas in the round of 16 for the fifth time in seven years, and the Longhorns have tied the school record for wins set two seasons ago.

Brian Asbury #32 of the Miami Hurricanes looks to shoot over Dexter Pittman #34 of the Texas Longhorns as Damion James #5 flies by during the second round of the South Regional. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Raymond Hicks #42 of the Miami Hurricanes reacts after losing to the Texas Longhorns 75-72 during the second round. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

D.J. Augustin #14 of the Texas Longhorns drives to the basket for a layup against Lance Hurdle #1 of the Miami Hurricanes during the second round of the South Regional. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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