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Ducks guard saves best for the end

For more than 39 minutes, Freddie Jones was an afterthought in Oregon's offense.

With a spot in the Elite Eight on the line Friday night, the senior guard wanted the ball.

Jones' layup with 2.8 seconds left lifted the second-seeded Ducks to a 72-70 victory over the Longhorns, who had trailed by as many as 13 points in the Midwest Region semifinal.

Until the final sequence, Jones had two points _ 16 below his average. But dribbling just inside halfcourt as time wound down, he waited until there was space in the lane before driving for the winning shot, his second field goal of the game.

Texas freshman guard T.J. Ford's running jumper bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

"My overall game was terrible," Jones said. "Coming down the stretch I knew that we were going to need a play, and I was happy that I was in a position to try to redeem myself."

The Ducks (26-8) hadn't won three games in the same NCAA Tournament since capturing the 1939 title.

Oregon weathered a series of rallies by the sixth-seeded Longhorns. Still, the Lukes _ as in Luke Jackson and Luke Ridnour _ always seemed to have an answer.

Jackson led the Ducks with 25 points, and Ridnour added 20, carrying the team for stretches. They scored nine of Oregon's final 11.

"They've been doing that all year long. They've made big play after big play in every single game," Jones said. "They have the confidence to take the big shot and they did a great job of keeping us close."

And then Jones, who missed his only shot of the first half, made the Lukes' hard work pay off.

It wasn't the first time Jones pulled off late efforts for the Ducks. He made a shot with 13 seconds left to beat UCLA and another with a second left for a win over Southern Cal that clinched Oregon's first share of the Pac-10 title in 57 years.

"How many times has he done that?" Oregon center Chris Christoffersen said. "We're used to it."

Texas (22-12) looked like it might get blown out at times in the first half and trailed 41-28 at halftime.

But the Longhorns used a 13-0 run _ highlighted by Brian Boddicker's three 3-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 the final seconds.

James Thomas led Texas with 15 points, including an inside basket that tied the score at 70 with 23.2 seconds left. He was fouled on the shot but failed to convert 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 a tender groin, had eight points, five assists and four turnovers. He was averaging a nation-leading 8.4 assists.

"There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to come back," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "The tough thing is how sudden it ends for you at this time of the year."

Texas opened 0-for-6 from the field and committed 12 first-half turnovers.

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