Mouton leads second-half surge


DENVER (AP) -- Brandon Mouton almost single-handedly carried the
Texas Longhorns past pesky Princeton.

Mouton scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half, fueling a
Texas rally in the Longhorns' 66-49 victory over Princeton in the
first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday night.

"We do not usually put pressure on Brandon," Texas coach Rick
Barnes said, "but tonight we told our players to get him the

Mouton said he "took it upon myself to come out in the second
half and get us going."

Texas (24-7), the No. 3 seed in the Atlanta Regional, will face
sixth-seeded North Carolina -- a 63-52 winner over 11th-seeded Air
Force -- in the second round Saturday.

Royal Ivey had 15 points and Brian Boddicker 14 for Texas,
making its sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance. Princeton
(20-8), the No. 14 seed, got 16 points from Will Venable.

Texas outshot Princeton 60 percent to 35 percent in the second
half, outscoring the Tigers 44-24 over the final 20 minutes, and
the Longhorns did their damage early.

Trailing 27-22 just a minute into the half, Texas mounted a 24-6
run to take control.

Texas hit its first four 3-point shots of the half.

Mouton and Kenton Paulino hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Mouton
added a layup and a 3-pointer, and Paulino had another 3-pointer.
After a three-point play by Brad Buckman, Mouton hit still another
3 and tacked on a layup for a 46-33 lead with 11:42 remaining.

Princeton got no closer than eight points after that.

Judson Wallace, Princeton's leading scorer and rebounder who was
in foul trouble in the second half, had back-to-back layups to trim
it to 56-48 with 3:45 left. But Ivey responded with a three-point
play and Mouton added two free throws.

Mouton went 5-for-6 from 3-point range and the Longhorns
finished 11-for-15, including 7-for-8 in the second half.

"We set some very hard screens and were getting great looks,"
Mouton said. "This team is capable of knocking down 3-point shots.
We were taking them and they were falling, and once they started
falling, coach said to keep doing it."

Added Barnes, "When you make 11 out of 15 3-pointers, you're
going to win a lot of basketball games."

Princeton, which saw its nine-game winning streak end, shot only
35 percent, including 19 percent (5-for-26) from 3-point distance.

"Texas' defense limited the amount of interior shots we could
get," Princeton coach John Thompson said. "We had to make
perimeter shots, which we had done all year, and the ball just
didn't go in tonight.

"This loss is going to stick with us for a while. This hurts.
We had a group that wanted to be playing on Saturday."

Tigers guard Ed Persia said Mouton "got hot and just broke our
zone apart. Their offensive rebounding killed us, too."

Princeton, its patient offense apparently frustrating the
Longhorns early, led 25-22 at halftime despite shooting only 36
percent. Texas was even worse, at 32 percent, and had seven
turnovers compared to the Tigers' four.

Princeton hit only one of its first nine shots as Texas jumped
out to a 6-2 lead, but the Longhorns then went into a scoring

Princeton used a 12-0 run, including nine points by Venable, to
open up a 14-6 lead with 8:47 left in the half.

Texas went 7:17 without a point before Boddicker hit a 3-pointer
with 8:33 remaining.

Venable's runner in the lane helped the Tigers maintain their
eight-point lead, but Texas countered with a 10-3 flurry, including
a layup and 3-pointer by Boddicker.