NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cincinnati jumped ahead 16-2 on Texas and saw a 19-point lead disappear in the closing minutes, but the sixth-seeded Bearcats scored on three consecutive possessions and held on for a 65-59 victory in the NCAA second round Friday at Bridgestone Arena.
Senior Yancy Gates hit two key shots after Texas tied the score with 3:44 left, finishing with team highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds as the Bearcats (25-10) advance to face third seed Florida State, which beat St. Bonaventure 66-63.
"The guys … refused to lose," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "We've been in so many battles in the Big East … that I think it served us well. We probably are more comfortable playing if it's a close game. We don't know how to play with those big leads. They don't really happen in Big East basketball."
Five of Texas' seven players were freshmen, but the Longhorns (20-14) got big games from junior guard J'Covan Brown (19 points) and senior center Clint Chapman (10 points, 14 rebounds). Texas opened the game 1-for-13 from the field with five turnovers, trailing 16-2 with 8 minutes left in the first half.
"We were just inept at the start of the game," Longhorns coach Rick Barnes said. "They came out very aggressive, and we turned the ball over and then we started pressing and missed a lot of shots at the rim. … I'm really proud of the fact that these guys fought."
Guards Cashmere Wright and Sean Kilpatrick combined for 19 points and 11 assists for Cincinnati while committing only one turnover.