Texas edges West Virginia
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- LaMarcus Aldridge made a putback with 3.6 seconds left and blocked a last-second shot to lift No. 2 Texas to a 76-75 victory over No. 13 West Virginia on Monday night in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic.
Daniel Gibson hit six 3-pointers and scored 20 points to lead Texas (3-0), which will meet either No. 7 Kentucky or No. 18 Iowa in Tuesday night's championship game. P.J. Tucker added 19 points for the Longhorns and Aldridge finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Texas, which trailed by 10 points early in the second half, went up 72-71 on Kenton Paulino's 3-pointer with just over 2 minutes left. But Frank Young answered with a basket 25 seconds later and Mike Gansey hit a layup with a minute to go, giving West Virginia a 75-72 lead.
After the Mountaineers' Johannes Herber and Kevin Pittsnogle missed the front ends of 1-and-1 opportunities, Tucker's follow shot got Texas within 75-74 with 15.4 seconds remaining. Pittsnogle missed another 1-and-1 with 14.7 seconds to go, and Aldridge converted after misses by Paulino and Brad Buckman.
Aldridge then blocked a last-second layup attempt by Gansey, who led the Mountaineers (2-1) with 28 points.
Buckman also had a double-double, with 12 points and 11 rebounds, as the Longhorns outrebounded West Virginia 41-22. Texas won despite committing 24 turnovers, which the Mountaineers turned into 24 points.
Gibson was 2-for-11 from long range and scored 10 total points in Texas' first two victories. Monday night, he went 5-for-6 from 3-point range in the first half and 6-for-7 overall.
But after hitting a 3-pointer 24 seconds into the second half, he didn't score again.
Gansey hit three 3-pointers but was more dangerous close to the basket -- repeatedly cutting inside for layups and cherry-picking on breaks after turnovers by the Longhorns. But he also struggled offensively late in the game, scoring just two points in the final 12 minutes.
West Virginia closed the first half with a 12-4 run, taking a 40-35 lead at the break on J.D. Collins' 3-pointer with 1 second left, and led 48-38 after Gansey's 3-pointer with just under 17 minutes to go.
But Buckman dunked 30 seconds later and then whipped a behind-the-back pass to Aldridge for a layup and a 3-point play, igniting a 13-0 run that put the Longhorns up 51-48 on Paulino's 3-pointer with 14:15 left.
Herber finished with 16 points for West Virginia, while Pittsnogle was held to nine points -- less than half his 18.5-point average.