Jan. 14, 2006
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half and No. 8 Texas smothered No. 3 Villanova with its best defensive game of the year to pull out a 58-55 victory Saturday.
Aldridge scored eight points in the final 4 minutes, including two free throws with 8.3 seconds left that gave Texas a three-point lead.
Daniel Gibson hit two more free throws with 3.9 seconds left before Villanova's Randy Foye bounced a running 3-pointer wide left off the backboard.
Kenton Paulino added 13 points for Texas (14-2) which has won six straight since a mid-December slump, including two wins over Top 10 opponents.
Foye, Kyle Lowry and Allan Ray each scored 13 points for Villanova, which otherwise struggled through a miserable 7-of-30 shooting performance from 3-point range. The Wildcats came in shooting 43 percent from long beyond the arc.
Foye, who hit two 3-pointers to open the game before missing 14 of his next 15 shots, also missed a free throw that would have tied the game at 52-52 with 1:02 left.
By traveling outside the Big East to the Big 12, Villanova brought its quick and versatile four-guard lineup to match up with Texas' more traditional three-forward offense that tries to use Aldridge as a dominant force in the paint.
Texas, which has struggled against guard-heavy teams all season, found the right matchups on the perimeter this time. The Wildcats missed 10 straight shots in one early stretch and struggled to match Aldridge and Brad Buckman on the boards.
Foye opened with his two 3-pointers and was jawing with Texas' P.J. Tucker up and down the court. But after taking an 8-6 lead, Villanova went scoreless over the next 5 minutes. Buckman scored six straight points and had five rebounds before he twisted his left ankle and was helped off the court.
Buckman didn't return and Texas ran into further problems when Gibson picked up three fouls in the half with only two points.
Villanova's defense held Tucker, Texas' leading scorer this season, to two points in the first half and the Wildcats led 26-24 at halftime as both teams shot under 35 percent.
The second half was more of the same: smothering defense and missed 3-pointers.
Villanova kept working the ball around the perimeter looking for open shots only to miss its first seven attempts from long range in the half.
Texas, which struggled to get Aldridge the ball in the first half, grabbed a 33-32 lead when Gibson hit a 3 from the left corner with 12 minutes left to play. A three-point play by Aldridge and a hanging jumper in the lane by Tucker stretched it to 38-34.
Gibson's 3-pointer from the left corner made it 45-39 before Villanova closed within two on Dante Cunningham's jumper and a deep 3-pointer from Ray.
Aldridge started his late flourish with a dunk on an inbounds pass from Tucker. After Lowry's three-point play tied it at 50, Aldridge put back a blocked shot to regain Texas' lead.