Durant scores 30 points but Texas loses to USCMar 19, 2007 - 2:56 AM SPOKANE, Washington (Ticker) -- Freshman sensation Kevin Durant scored 30 points in what may have been his final college game. Southern California is moving on in the NCAA Tournament with the help of two freshmen of its own.
Daniel Hackett scored a season-high 20 points and Taj Gibson added 17 points and 14 rebounds as fifth-seeded USC rolled to an 87-68 victory over fourth-seeded Texas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's East Region.
The Trojans (25-11) will face top-seeded North Carolina on Friday in the regional semifinals at East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The 6-9 Durant probably thought he was going to get a chance to face North Carolina in front of the New York media. Instead, he will likely have to start addressing whether he intends to enter the NBA draft after a season in which he averaged 25.1 points and 11.4 rebounds. It didn't take long for that question to be asked in the postgame news conference.
"I don't think that's an appropriate question right now," Durant said. "I'm just worried about this team. It's tough ending a season like this."
Durant made 11-of-24 shots and also grabbed nine rebounds. A.J. Abrams added 20 points for Texas (25-10). But the rest of the Longhorns made just 6-of-26 shots.
"When you score 68 points and 50 of them come from two guys, you're not going to get it done that way," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "We weren't able to play through some tough situations today and that's what made it disappointing."
Point guard D.J. Augustin, one of four freshman starters for Texas, was the main culprit, making just 1-of-8 shots and finishing with six points.
"Gabe Pruitt did an outstanding job on Augustin," USC coach Tim Floyd said. "They really rely on his penetration and Gabe did a great job stopping that."
All five of USC's starters scored in double figures. Nick Young, the team's leading scorer, made 8-of-13 shots for 22 points. Lodrick Stewart and Pruitt added 10 apiece for the Trojans, who are heading to the "Sweet 16" for the first time since 2001.
"We're very excited," Young said. "We're playing great team ball and that's what we need to do down the stretch. The freshmen have really uplifted us."
USC especially benefited from the contributions by Hackett, who averaged less than five points per game during the season, and Gibson, the 6-9 forward who also had the challenge of defending Durant.
"He's a great player," Gibson said of Durant. "The guys helped me on switches on him the whole game. We tried to make it as hard on him as we could. But you can only so much against him. You just have to focus on their other two guys, Agustin and Abrams."
Both schools are football powers. Quarterback Vince Young led Texas to a win over Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and the Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl for the national championship.
This win by USC ended Durant and the Longhorns' chance of winning a national championship.
And the Trojans were in control virtually from start to finish. Hackett scored eight points and Young added seven as USC raced to a 32-17 lead.
Texas showed signs of life when it closed the first half with a 10-2 run as Durant hit a 3-pointer and scored on a follow shot before Abrams connected on a shot from the arc at the buzzer, pulling the Longhorns within 34-27.
However, USC opened the second half with a 16-6 spurt as Young hit a 3-pointer, scored on a putback, made two free throws and dunked off a pass from Pruitt.
Texas pulled no closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Now the focus for the Longhorns will be on Durant, who could be either the first or second overall pick in the draft if he applies for early entry.
"I hope he (Durant) stays," Texas forward Damion James said. "Just think about the team we'll have next year. He's got to do what he's got to do. But I hope he doesn't leave."
- SOUTH REGIONAL
AT SPOKANE WA
NCAA BB SOUTH REGIONAL
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
USC 34 53 87
TEXAS 27 41 68 FINAL
Mar 18 7:34 PM
- SOUTH REGIONAL
AT SPOKANE WA
NCAA BB (5) USC 34
(4) TEXAS 27 HALFTIME
Mar 18 6:02 PM
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