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Pierce's long three seals it

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) -- Pierre Pierce wasn't around to celebrate
with his teammates.

The junior guard hit a 25-foot jumper with 44 seconds left to
give Iowa the lead for good, and the Hawkeyes beat Texas (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP)
82-80 on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.

On the last play of the game, when Texas' P.J. Tucker missed a
chance to tie it, Pierce stepped on another player's foot and hurt
his left ankle. He was on the floor in pain while his teammates
celebrated, then they ran to him and helped him to the locker room.

He left the Lahaina Civic Center on crutches and was taken for
X-rays.

"He made big play after big play in the second half," Iowa
coach Steve Alford said. "But he's on crutches right now and we
don't have a long turnaround."

Iowa (3-0) will face North Carolina (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) in the championship game on
Wednesday. The Tar Heels beat Tennessee 94-81 on Tuesday.

It was Iowa's second straight win over a ranked team following a
76-71 victory over (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) Louisville in the opening round.

"These two games have been against two talented teams and we
played with poise in both," said Alford, who celebrated his 40th
birthday. "We've played ahead and behind and these kids know what
needs to take place."

With the Hawkeyes trailing by two in the final minute, Pierce
stood with the ball in front of the Iowa bench, but no Texas
defender came out toward him. He waited as his teammates tried to
get free, then let fly with a long jumper that gave the Hawkeyes a
79-78 lead.

The 3-point line is 9 inches further back than normal in this
tournament, but that didn't even matter because Pierce was well
behind where the NBA line would have been.

"That was a long, deep 3 and he made the shot," Texas coach
Rick Barnes said. "But they gave us opportunities to get back in
it."

Jeff Horner, who led Iowa with 27 points, made two free throws
with 21 seconds left, but Tucker scored with 8 seconds remaining to
bring the Longhorns (2-1) to 81-80.

Horner made one of two free throws with 7.3 seconds left and
Tucker, who made a buzzer-beating shot to beat Providence last
season, was off the mark with a shot in the lane just before the
buzzer sounded.

"Seven seconds is a hard defensive assignment and we did a nice
job and there was no rebound," Alford said. "We didn't want them
to drive and kick out for a 3. The worst-case scenario for us was
overtime and they had some foul trouble."

Barnes was happy with his team's final play.

"We wanted P.J. to take it as far he could go with it just like
he did last year," Barnes said. "He got it there. We got a good
look at it."

Pierce had 18 points and seven assists.

"We just kept fighting back like we did against Louisville,"
Horner said. "Pierre stepped up and hit a big 3. That's the kind
of player he is. He's fun to watch."

Brad Buckman led Texas with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and
freshman point guard Daniel Gibson had 14 points and six assists.

"This was a great experience for Daniel Gibson today," Barnes
said. "Defensively, no question he's learning. You can't give room
to a player like Jeff Horner. Now he knows."

Texas led 38-37 at halftime and neither team was up by more than
six points in the second half. There were three lead changes and
three ties in the final 3:06.

Horner, who had six assists, was 6-for-10 from 3-point range and
Pierre, who shot 25.5 percent on 3s last season, was 3-for-7. The
Hawkeyes were 9-for-24 from behind the arc.

Texas was 11-for-21 on 3s, with Sydmill Harris going 3-for-4 and
Gibson 3-for-6.

The Longhorns struggled with foul trouble as reserve forward
Jason Klotz fouled out and four starters finished with four each.

"I don't like losing games to learn lessons, but I really like
this team and we have a chance to be a really good team," Barnes.

Iowa won this tournament, which is sponsored by EA Sports, in
1987.

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