Sat, 2011-03-12 16:15
The Texas Longhorns will return to the Big 12 Tournament Final for the fifth time in eight years.
Propelled by a 70-58 win over the Texas A&M Aggies, the triumph means that the Horns will face off against the Kansas Jayhawks in Saturday night’s championship match.
But Friday night’s victory marked a three-game season sweep of the Aggies, the first time that Texas has ever accomplished such a feat.
The two teams traded shots in the first half and early in the second frame, but Jordan Hamilton, J’Covan Brown and Tristan Thompson carried the Horns on a critical run that created enough separation for a comfortable win.
Hamilton continued his recent rise in performance with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Brown provided a much needed offensive lift from the bench with 15 points of his own—including 3-of-5 from behind the 3-point line.
Thompson may be a freshman, but his physical effort tonight was no indication of that. The 6’8” forward put up an efficient 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting while grabbing a huge 13 rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive glass allowing the Longhorns to score 20 second-chance points.
Cory Joseph added 10 points, six boards, two assists and three steals.
Should Texas come out on top against the Jayhawks, it would be the first time the Longhorns hoist the Big 12 trophy in the conference’s 15-year history.
Earlier this season, Texas went into Allen Field House and used a second-half surge to power by Kansas in a 74-63 effort, marking the first time that the Longhorns won on the road against the Jayhawks.
The stakes will be much higher in Kansas City for Saturday night’s 5 p.m. CT tip-off for the Big 12 Championship.
Game Grade: B
Being as critical as possible, the Longhorns looked very sloppy in the first half and at times in the second half. A repeat performance of yesterday's game simply won’t cut it against a better disciplined and more talented Kansas team. That being said, more out of Hamilton, Brown and Thompson will go a long way towards cutting down the nets at the end of the tonight's match.