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Updated: Friday, March 12, 2004 11:34 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(11) Texas 66, Oklahoma 63

DALLAS (Ticker) -- Just when it looked like Texas was headed for a third straight loss, Brandon Mouton rescued the Longhorns.

Mouton converted a three-point play with 26 seconds left, then made a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining as No. 15 Texas rallied for a thrilling 66-63 victory over Oklahoma in the Big 12 Conference tournament.

"We had two wins over Oklahoma (in the regular season) and we might have relaxed a little bit," Mouton said. "But it's hard to beat a team three times in a season."

Oklahoma, whose three-year reign as Big 12 tournament champion ended, appeared to be in control with a 58-46 lead with under eight minutes left.

But the Sooners could not overcome a battle of attrition as their already short bench was furthered depleted due to a pair of foul-outs. Oklahoma (19-10) played the final 4 1/2 minutes with just one player available on the bench.

"The margin for error here is not real wide," Sooners coach Kelvin Sampson said. "We were trying to hang on."

The Longhorns caught the exhausted Sooners at 61-61 on Brian Boddicker's free throw with 2:05 left.

On Oklahoma's ensuing possession, Jaison Williams leaned into Tucker with one second left on the shot clock, drawing a foul while attempting a 3-pointer. He hit 2-of-3 from the line to give the Sooners a 63-61 lead.

"Coach Sampson put those guys in position to win," Mouton added. "They were scrappy and emotional and that's the strength of a young club."

But Mouton made the play of the game with a hard drive to the basket and his free throw gave the Longhorns a 64-63 lead. Drew Lavender lost control on Oklahoma's next possession, and Mouton hit two more from the line to make it 66-63.

Mouton and freshman P.J. Tucker scored 16 points apiece for the Longhorns (22-6), who dropped their last two regular-season games. They will face either Missouri or Kansas in Saturday's semifinals.

"We wanted to make fatigue a factor for them, but Oklahoma still made some plays," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "Sometimes our perimeter guys get hesitant."

The Sooners' hopes ended when Lavender came up short on a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"We've made a habit of coming from behind this year," Texas guard Royal Ivey said. "We weren't on our Ps and Qs because we beat them by 29 in Austin. They thought they had us."

De'Angelo Alexander scored 15 points and Brandon Foust added 11 for the Sooners, who shot only 37 percent (19-of-51).


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