Tyrese Hunter scored 19 points, Marcus Carr added 18 points and six assists and Texas never trailed while cruising to an 83-71 victory over Xavier in Midwest Region semifinal play on Friday night in Kansas City, Mo.
Christian Bishop also had 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds for second-seeded Texas (29-8), which advances to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2008. Sir’Jabari Rice added 16 points and Timmy Allen had 11 for the Longhorns.
Texas will face fifth-seeded Miami (28-7) on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.
Longhorns interim coach Rodney Terry said, “We’re excited about it. These guys have played really hard for one another all year long and hopefully we’ll want more.”
Adam Kunkel scored 21 points and Jack Nunge had 15 points and 11 rebounds for third-seeded Xavier (27-10). Colby Jones also scored 15 points and Souley Boum added 12 for the Musketeers, who lost for just the second time in the past nine games.
Texas big man Dylan Disu, who averaged 22.5 points and 10 rebounds over the Longhorns’ first two NCAA Tournament games, attempted to play through a left foot injury but was unsuccessful. Disu departed after 94 seconds to be examined in the locker room and later returned to the bench with a boot on his foot.
The Longhorns shot 52.5 percent from the field, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range.
Xavier made 43.8 percent of its shots and was 7 of 17 from behind the arc.
Terry said, “We knew we were going to have to hang our hat tonight on defense and rebounding the basketball.”
Texas led by 17 at halftime and the advantage stood at 51-33 after Hunter’s 3-pointer with 16:07 left in the game.
Carr and Hunter later made consecutive treys to push the lead to 20 for the first time at 61-41 with 11:59 remaining. Texas added four more points to complete a 10-0 run and lead by a game-high 24 with 10:49 remaining.
Xavier scored 14 of the next 19 points to move within 15 before Bishop scored on a dunk and Hunter added two free throws to make it 74-55 with 5:04 left. The Musketeers again narrowed the gap in the final minutes.
Allen banked in a 3-pointer from just inside halfcourt as time expired to give the Longhorns a 42-25 halftime advantage.
Carr scored 15 points, including 11 in the first 10:02 as Texas took a 20-12 lead. Carr later added consecutive baskets as the Longhorns expanded the lead to 34-18 with 3:14 left.
Texas shot 53.1 percent (17 of 32) from the field in the first half, while Xavier made just 27.3 percent (9 of 33).
–Field Level Media