Texas guards wear down Purdue, 77-67

Behind Ford's 21 points, Ivey's defense, Longhorns earn short trip to Sweet 16

South Regional

NCAA Tournament

March 24, 2003|By Alan Schmadtke | Alan Schmadtke,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Now the Texas Longhorns can go home -- and perhaps really enjoy the NCAA tournament.

Bullied early by Purdue and peeved by a three-point shot before the half that should not have counted, top-seeded Texas survived a day when it couldn't shoot straight, beating the Boilermakers, 77-67, in a second-round South Regional game yesterday at Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.

Guards T.J. Ford and Royal Ivey fueled yesterday's survival for the first back-to-back trips to the Sweet 16 in Longhorns history -- getting them back to Texas for a chance at their first Final Four.

Up next: No. 5 Connecticut on Friday in San Antonio. Texas (24-6), a controversial selection as a No. 1 seed ahead of Big 12 champion Kansas, will have to make only an 80-mile drive south from Austin to get there.

"It means a lot. We can use the home-crowd advantage for us," said the sophomore Ford, who scored 21 points with nine rebounds and eight assists.

And maybe use yesterday's struggles to make them better. For a while, everything seemed to go No. 9 Purdue's way, particularly when officials ruled Michael Deane's three-point shot beat the first-half buzzer and delivered the Boilermakers a 31-30 lead.

Replays showed the shot left Deane's hand too late. Texas coach Rick Barnes said all three officials apologized to him before the second half started.

"But sometimes those kind of calls work against you later on," Purdue coach Gene Keady said.

At the very least, Purdue (19-11) had the Longhorns' attention.

Despite shooting poorly (40.3 percent) and not getting the break-neck pace it desired, Texas now plays on because in the second half Ford drove the ball to the basket and Ivey blanketed Deane.

Ford missed seven of nine shots in the first half, many of them short jump shots, but coaches and teammates told him to keep shooting. Barnes was more specific.

"I told him to drive the ball, get around them and make something happen," Barnes said. "I think that was a key."

Helped along by Barnes, who changed from man-to-man to zone to triangle-and-two defenses when his team found early foul trouble, Ivey made it his mission to slow Deane. Texas' defensive stopper did his job well.

Deane shot 4-for-17 for 13 points. He was never able to make back to back treys nor get the Boilermakers a lead after the midway point of the second half.

Deane made no field goals in the second half, scoring one point.

"They did a great job of just having a guy on me every time I received the ball," Deane said. "They put a lot of pressure on me. There was always somebody there."

Texas led 67-65 at a television timeout with 3:41 to go, and it outscored Purdue 10-2 the rest of the way. Purdue's final field goal came with four minutes left.

"Coach said during the timeout, `It's winning time,' and when it's winning time that's when you've got to lock down and play defense," said Ivey, a junior, who scored 14 points. "We locked down."

Alan Schmadtke is a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

PURDUE--Buscher 4-6 0-0 8, Booker 2-8 4-4 8, Deane 4-17 3-4 13, McKnight 5-10 0-0 10, Lowe 2-6 4-6 9, Teague 2-6 0-0 4, Kartelo 2-2 2-4 6, Buckley 2-6 0-0 6, Kiefer 0-1 3-6 3. Totals 23-62 16-24 67. TEXAS--Buckman 0-3 0-0 0, Thomas 3-6 5-6 11, Mouton 2-11 2-2 6, T. Ford 7-19 7-9 21, Ivey 4-6 5-6 14, Harris 2-4 0-0 6, Erskin 4-6 3-3 11, Klotz 1-1 0-0 2, Ross 0-0 0-0 0, Boddicker 2-6 0-0 6. Totals 25-62 22-26 77. Halftime--Purdue, 31-30. 3-point goals--Purdue 5-16 (Buckley 2-3, Deane 2-6, Lowe 1-3, Teague 0-4), Texas 5-11 (Boddicker 2-3, Harris 2-4, Ivey 1-1, Mouton 0-3). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Purdue 35 (Kartelo 8), Texas 40 (Thomas 12). Assists--Purdue 10 (Lowe 4), Texas 8 (T. Ford 8). Total fouls--Purdue 24, Texas 21. A--16,471.

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