Oregon Sends Longhorns Packing
March 22, 2002
By JR ROSS
Associated Press Writer
MADISON, Wis. - For more than 39 minutes, Freddie Jones was anafterthought in Oregon's offense.
With a spot in the final eight on the line Friday night, the senior guardwanted the ball in his hands.
Jones' layup with 2.8 seconds left lifted the second-seeded Ducks to a 72-70victory over the Longhorns, who had trailed by as many as 13 points in theMidwest Regional semifinal.
Until the final sequence, Jones had just two points - 16 below his average.But dribbling the ball just inside halfcourt as time wound down, he waiteduntil there was space in the lane before driving for the winning shot, hissecond bucket of the game.
Texas freshman guard T.J. Ford's running jumper bounced off the rim at thebuzzer as time expired.
'My overall game was terrible,' Jones said. 'Coming down the stretch Iknew that we were going to need a play, and I was happy that I was in aposition to try to redeem myself.'
The Ducks (26-8), who hadn't won three games in the same NCAA tournamentsince capturing the 1939 title, will meet the winner of the game betweenIllinois and Kansas for a Final Four berth.
Oregon had to weather a series of rallies by the sixth-seeded Longhorns.Still, the Lukes - as in Luke Jackson and Luke Ridnour - always seemed to havean answer.
Jackson led the Ducks with 25 points, and Ridnour added 20, carrying theteam for stretches. They scored nine of Oregon's final 11 points.
'They've been doing that all year long. They've made big play after bigplay in every single game,' Jones said. 'They have the confidence to take thebig shot and they did a great job of keeping us close.'
And then Jones, who missed the only shot he took in the first half, made theLukes' hard work pay off.
It wasn't the first time Jones pulled off late heroics for the Ducks thisseason. He made a shot with 13 seconds left to beat UCLA and another with asecond left for a win over Southern Cal that clinched Oregon's first share ofthe Pac-10 conference title in 57 years.
'How many times has he done that?' Oregon center Chris Christoffersensaid. 'We're used to it.'
Texas (22-12) looked like it might get blown out at times in the first halfand was down 41-28 at halftime.
But the Longhorns used a 13-0 run - highlighted by Brian Boddicker's three3-pointers - to pull even at 51 with about 12 minutes to play.
That sent the game into a back-and-forth struggle that lasted until thefinal seconds.
James Thomas led Texas with 15 points, including an inside basket that tiedthe game at 70 with 23.2 seconds left. He was fouled on the shot but failed toconvert the three-point play that would have given Texas its first lead.Boddicker scored 13.
Ford, playing with series of injuries that include an ankle sprain and atender groin, had eight points, five assists and four turnovers. He wasaveraging a nation-leading 8.4 assists.
'There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to come back,' Texascoach Rick Barnes said. 'The tough thing is how sudden it ends for you at thistime of the year.'
Texas opened the game 0-for-6 from the field and committed 12 first-halfturnovers.
Texas cut its deficit to 33-28 with about 2 minutes left before the Duckswent on an 8-0 run to end the half. It began with Ridnour's 3-pointer and endedwith Jackson's 3-pointer just before the buzzer for that 13-point advantage.