(14) Princeton 49

(20-8, 13-1 Ivy)

(3) Texas 66

(24-7, 12-4 Big 12)

    7:20 PM ET, March 18, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    1 2 T
    #14PRIN 25 2449
    #3TEX 22 4466

    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.

    Dick Vitale's Tourney Take
    It took awhile for Texas to get going, as Princeton built an eight-point lead in the first half. But in the second half, senior guard Brandon Mouton really turned it on, hitting some key 3-pointers (5-of-6 from beyond the arc). Princeton gave it a valiant effort. But Texas had too much depth -- as well as too much Mouton (23 points), forward Brian Boddicker (14 points, 7 rebounds) and guard Royal Ivey (15 points plus 8 rebounds and 5 assists, both game highs).
    More on Thursday's Games

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

    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 drought.

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press



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