SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- In the end, Stromile Swift got the best of Chris Mihm on both ends of the floor.
Swift's dramatic block of Texas' All-American came during a quick seven-point burst as fourth-seeded Louisiana State defeated the No. 5 Longhorns, 72-67, to reach the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years.
"First of all I'd like to congratulate the collection of players that are up here (the news conference podium) and the rest of the LSU basketball team for all it's been through and what they have been able to accomplish," Tigers coach John Brady said. "There's not a better story nationally." With just over two minutes remaining, freshman Torris Bright drove for a layup that put the Tigers (28-5) on top, 62-60.
Moments later, Texas worked the ball inside to the 7-foot Mihm, whose dunk attempt was rejected by the 6-9 Swift. On the ensuing possession, Swift leaned into a bank shot that gave LSU a four-point lead with 1:35 left.
"I don't know if that was a turning point," Swift said of his block. "I just try and play hard defense every time down. I just tried to get the block and that helped motivate our team." Brian Beshara made a steal and was hammered as he drove to the basket. He made both free throws and, after a turnover by Texas' Gabe Muoneke, Swift hit the second of two attempts from the line with 1:08 remaining.
"I didn't have a good game (on Thursday in the first round) and I just wanted to play better because I know I'm a better player than what I showed," Swift said. "I used it to motivate myself for today." Poor foul shooting by the Tigers allowed Texas (24-9) to fight within 70-67 on Ivan Wagner's 3-pointer. But Jermaine Williams essentially sealed it by making two free throws.
"In a big game such as this, players make plays, and when it came down to crunch time they were able to make plays and I thought that was the only true difference," Mihm said.
Swift collected 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers, who will face Wisconsin in the West Region semifinals on Thursday. It's LSU's first appearance in the "Sweet 16" since 1987.
"LSU is in the 'Sweet 16.' We'll take on all winners," Brady said. "That's not to sound brash, but we're glad to be here." Wagner scored 16 points for Texas, which has not played beyond the second round of the NCAA Tournament since 1997.
"You've got to make plays and we didn't make plays," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "It was a game that was there for us in the end and we just didn't go get it." There were five ties and nine lead changes during an extremely tight second half.
Wagner drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:24 to play, giving Texas a 58-56 advantage. But freshman Collis Temple calmly sank two free throws to tie it with 5:45 remaining.
Mihm, who had been under the weather in recent days and was a below average 5-of-14 from the field, made the second of two fouls shots with 4:45 left to give the Longhorns their last lead. Mihm finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds but five turnovers.
Jabari Smith's jumper was answered by Muoneke, who went 1-of-2 from the line to tie it with 3:04 left.
Smith and Bright scored 11 points apiece for LSU, which connected on 43 percent (24-of-56) of its shots and held a 40-36 advantage on the boards. Both teams committed 15 turnovers but the Tigers outscored the Longhorns at the foul line, 20-8.
"It's a great feeling," Swift said. "I came to LSU at a time when it was not a good time to come. But I knew I could play and if I came others would follow behind me, and that's what we've been able to do." Muoneke had 13 points and Darren Kelly added 11 with eight rebounds for Texas, which shot 41 percent (24-of-56), including 9-of-20 from 3-point range.
"We accomplished a lot this year," Muoneke said. "You don't want to take away from the fact that we thought we probably gave the game away in many different sequences. Not to take anything away from LSU because they have a very good team, but we feel that we didn't play the way we are capable of playing." The biggest lead of the game for either team until LSU's late 7-0 run was nine points. Wagner capped a 10-2 first-half run with a 3-pointer that provided the Longhorns with a 32-23 advantage.
But LSU closed the half on an 8-2 run to fight within 34-31 at the break.
"It was just a great college game where it is played back and forth until the final seconds," Wagner said.