3-0, 3-0 Home

Texas squeaks past Mountaineers into Guardians final

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- So far, the formula is simple: When LaMarcus Aldridge hits double digits in points and rebounds, Texas wins.

His career-high 14th rebound and final basket Monday night couldn't have come at a better time for the second-ranked Longhorns, either.

Aldridge made a putback with 3.6 seconds left and blocked a last-second shot, lifting Texas to a 76-75 victory over No. 13 West Virginia in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic. It was his third double-double in as many games this season.

"I don't remember anything but getting the basketball and going up," said Aldridge, who finished with 15 points.

Daniel Gibson hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 points to lead
Texas (3-0), which will meet No. 18 Iowa in Tuesday night's
championship game. The Hawkeyes beat No. 7 Kentucky 67-63.

Daniel Gibson hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 points to lead Texas (3-0), which will meet Iowa (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 Iowa) in Tuesday night's championship game. The Hawkeyes beat No. 7 Kentucky 67-63.

P.J. Tucker added 19 points for the Longhorns.

Texas, which trailed by 10 points early in the second half, went up 72-71 on Kenton Paulino's 3-pointer with just over two minutes left. But Frank Young answered with a basket 25 seconds later and Mike Gansey hit a layup with a minute to go, giving West Virginia a 75-72 lead.

After the Mountaineers' Johannes Herber and Kevin Pittsnogle missed the front ends of 1-and-1 opportunities, Tucker's follow shot got Texas within 75-74 with 15.4 seconds remaining. Pittsnogle missed another 1-and-1 with 14.7 seconds to go, and Aldridge converted after misses by Paulino and Brad Buckman.

"Our usual trademark is to make foul shots down the stretch, and tonight we didn't," West Virginia coach John Beilein said. "We had two of our best free-throw shooters at the line."

After his game-winning putback, Aldridge blocked a last-second layup attempt by Gansey, who led the Mountaineers (2-1) with 28 points.

"We've run that play for years, and it's never been that wide open," Beilein said. "We had a clear layup. I don't know where Aldridge came from."

Replays appeared to show Aldridge leaving his feet and making contact, but no foul was called.

"The referee made the right call," Gansey said. "Texas made a great defensive play. At the end of the game, the referees don't want to determine it and kind of let us play. It was the right call not to make the call."

Aldridge declined to comment on the no-call, but Texas coach Rick Barnes said there was no foul.

"I saw it. It was a clean block," Barnes said. "There's no need to talk any more about it."

Buckman also had a double-double, with 12 points and 11 rebounds, as the Longhorns outrebounded West Virginia 41-22. Texas won despite committing 24 turnovers, which the Mountaineers turned into 24 points.

"Some of our passes were ridiculous," Barnes said. "To turn the ball over as many times as we did and win, we were fortunate. They're an older, veteran team in midseason form."

Gibson was 2-for-11 from long range and scored 10 total points in Texas' first two victories. Monday night, he went 5-for-6 from 3-point range in the first half and 6-for-7 overall.

But after hitting a 3-pointer 24 seconds into the second half, he didn't score again.

Gansey hit three 3-pointers but was more dangerous close to the basket -- repeatedly cutting inside for layups and cherry-picking on breaks after turnovers by the Longhorns. But he also struggled offensively late in the game, scoring just two points in the final 12 minutes.

West Virginia closed the first half with a 12-4 run, taking a 40-35 lead at the break on J.D. Collins' 3-pointer with one second left, and led 48-38 after Gansey's 3-pointer with just under 17 minutes to go.

But Buckman dunked 30 seconds later and then whipped a behind-the-back pass to Aldridge for a layup and a 3-point play, igniting a 13-0 run that put the Longhorns up 51-48 on Paulino's 3-pointer with 14:15 left.

"This game was a test to see how good we are," Tucker said. "There was a lot of adversity. We faced the adversity and won."

Herber finished with 16 points for West Virginia, while Pittsnogle was held to nine points -- less than half his 18.5-point average.