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Texas routs Xavier, reaches first Elite Eight in 15 years

Tyrese Hunter scored 19 factors, Marcus Carr and Christian Bishop added 18 apiece, and second-seeded Texas rolled to an 83-71 victory over No. 3 seed Xavier on Friday night time to achieve the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years.

Playing a lot of the method with out ailing star Dylan Disu, the Longhorns — the best seed left after No. 1s Alabama and Houston misplaced earlier in the night time — constructed a 42-25 lead by halftime. They shortly pushed it previous 20 earlier than cruising the remainder of the way in which right into a matchup with fifth-seeded Miami on Sunday night time for a spot in the Final Four in Houston.

Sir’Jabari Rice had 16 factors and Timmy Allen added 11 for the Longhorns (29-8), who saved Souley Boum and the remainder of Xavier’s perimeter threats in examine whereas making life depressing for Jack Nunge down low.

Adam Kunkel hit 5 3-pointers and led the Musketeers (27-10) with 21 factors. Nunge scored 15 however wanted 19 pictures to get there, whereas Colby Jones additionally had 15 factors. Boum didn’t hit a area aim till early in the second half and completed with 12 factors.

The job the Longhorns did in shutting down Xavier was merely the most recent instance of some masterful work by interim coach Rodney Terry. The longtime assistant took over in December, when Chris Beard was suspended and later fired over a since-dropped home violence cost, and Terry has not solely saved the season from falling aside however despatched his group hovering.

Things gained’t get any simpler in opposition to Miami, which romped to (*15*).

And particularly with out Disu, who led the Longhorns to a Big 12 tourney title and earned MVP honors on the identical flooring simply over two weeks in the past, and who’d been dominant via the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Disu tried to play via a left foot damage that the Longhorns had efficiently saved secret Friday night time, however he lasted solely a few minutes earlier than limping off the ground and straight to the locker room. When he returned to the bench, he was carrying an enormous strolling boot, a black hoodie and a grim expression.

Relegated to a 6-foot-9 cheerleader, Disu at the very least had loads to have a good time.

Carr received the Longhorns off to a quick begin, spinning via the lane like a Tilt-A-Whirl for robust buckets on the rim, and even flattening a spinning, desperation 3 because the shot clock expired. And when Musketeers coach Sean Miller traded out a man-to-man protection for a zone, the Longhorns started to pound the ball to Bishop in the paint.

With dozens of household and mates available, the Creighton switch from the Kansas City suburb of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, went to work. Bishop threw down one dunk on Carr’s alley-oop lob, then slammed down one other a couple of minutes later.

By the time Allen banked in a half-court heave, the Longhorns had established a 42-25 halftime benefit — and needed to be redirected from the Xavier tunnel, the place they had been busy celebrating, towards their very own locker room.

Xavier tried to creep again a few occasions, however the Longhorns by no means allowed their result in sniff single digits. And that gave Terry, who returned to Texas after head teaching jobs at Fresno State and UTEP, an opportunity to breathe deeply and benefit from the second.

The 54-year-old from the small Texas city of Angleton was on Rick Barnes’ workers the final time the Longhorns reached the Elite Eight, again in 2008. He was on the 2003 workers that guided all of them the way in which to the Final Four, too.

Now, he’s one step away from taking Texas on one other unbelievable journey to school basketball’s largest stage.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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