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Texas Is Too Tough for Villanova

The No. 8 Longhorns get defensive to defeat the No. 3 Wildcats, 58-55, for their sixth consecutive victory.

January 15, 2006|From the Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Forget that mid-December slump. Eighth-ranked Texas is looking more like the team that began the season ranked No. 2 and talking about the Final Four.

The Longhorns stopped No. 3 Villanova with their best defensive game of the season to pull out a 58-55 victory Saturday.

Texas (14-2) has won six in a row since consecutive blowout losses to No. 1 Duke and Tennessee, including two victories over top-10 opponents.

The Longhorns have done it with stifling defense that held all six opponents in the streak to under 40% shooting.

On Saturday, Villanova shot 27%, including seven of 30 from three-point range, where the Wildcats have been so dangerous.

"Our defense was outstanding again," Texas Coach Rick Barnes said. "That has been the difference in our team."

So was LaMarcus Aldridge, a 6-foot-10 sophomore power forward who scored eight of his 19 points during the last four minutes, including two free throws with 8.3 seconds left that gave the Longhorns a three-point lead. He also tied his career-high with five blocks.

Daniel Gibson made two more free throws with 3.9 seconds left before Randy Foye, Villanova's star guard, bounced a running three-point attempt off the backboard as time expired.

Foye, Kyle Lowry and Allan Ray each scored 13 points for Villanova (11-2), which came in shooting 43% from three-point range.

Foye, who made two three-pointers to open the game before missing 14 of his next 15 shots, also missed a free throw that would have tied the score at 52-52 with 1:02 left.

"I didn't feel any frustration," Foye said. "Just because I miss a couple of shots doesn't mean I'm going to quit shooting."

Traveling outside the Big East to the Big 12, Villanova (11-2) brought its quick and versatile four-guard lineup to match up with Texas' bigger lineup that tries to use Aldridge as a dominant force inside.

Texas has struggled against guard-heavy teams all season but found the right matchups on the perimeter this time. The Wildcats missed 10 consecutive shots during one early stretch in the game and struggled to contain Aldridge on the boards.

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Among majors

Texas' victory over Villanova Saturday improved its conference's record in high-profile games, but both the Big 12 and Big East have losing records in games played between schools that are members of the six major conferences. The nonconference records for those conferences, and their records against teams from other major conferences:

*--* NONCONFERENCE INTER-MAJOR League W L Pct. W L Pct. Big Ten 105 24 814 21 13 618 ACC 114 27 809 20 15 571 Big East 147 41 782 19 21 475 Big 12 104 30 776 12 15 444 SEC 114 35 765 16 21 432 Pac-10 73 28 723 7 10 412

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