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No. 7 Texas narrowly escapes Kansas St. with win

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Kenton Paulino never did find his touch
from the field -- not that anyone is likely to remember after the
free throw shooting clinic he put on.

Paulino was 1-for-7 from the field, including 1-for-5 from long
range, but he went 8-for-8 from the line, making four free throws
in the final 16 seconds, helping No. 7 Texas beat Kansas State
65-64 Wednesday night and avoid its second straight loss.

"This might be the worst game he's had shooting 3s, but he did
a great job at the free throw line," Longhorns coach Rick Barnes
said. "With those five assists, it was a real good night for
him."

LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points for the Longhorns, who were
coming off an 81-60 loss at Oklahoma State on Sunday.

P.J. Tucker had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Texas (23-4, 11-2
Big 12) and Daniel Gibson added 13 points -- but both almost undid
their scoring performances by missing free throws in the final
minute.

Paulino's free throws capped an 11-point night.

Kansas State (14-10, 5-8) lost to Texas at home for the first
time in Jim Wooldridge's six seasons as coach. It was the Wildcats'
sixth loss in their last eight games, five by four points or less.

"It's frustrating," guard Akeem Wright said. "We fight hard
out there to win these games. Losing by one points, by three
points, it's tough. We've been in every ballgame, but we just
haven't been able to close it out."

The Wildcats, who beat then-No. 10 Texas 58-48 in Manhattan on
March 6, 2004, almost pulled off another upset despite losing their
leading scorer and rebounder to foul trouble for much of the game.

But after David Hoskins scored to cut Texas' lead to 61-60 with
3:01 to go, Kansas State didn't score again until Hoskins made a
free throw with 3.7 seconds left to get within 63-61.

Tucker missed two 1-and-1 opportunities in the final minute, but
Brad Buckman rebounded Tucker's second miss with 19 seconds left
and passed to Paulino, who was fouled and hit both free throws for
a 63-60 lead.

After Hoskins' free throw made it a two-point game, Paulino was
fouled and hit two free throws with 2 seconds left for a 65-61
lead. Mario Taybron hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer for Kansas
State.

"I think right now it's getting to the point where we are
trying to win a championship," Tucker said. "Any way you can get
a win, you are going to take it. They fought hard, and we knew
coming in that this is a hard place to play."

Cartier Martin, who came in averaging 18.7 points and 7.0
rebounds for the Wildcats, sat down with his third foul less than
4 minutes into the game and did not return until the second half.
He scored five points early in the second half but then picked up
his fourth foul with just over 13 minutes to go.

He came back in at the 9-minute mark, but never found his
offensive rhythm and fouled out with 41 seconds to go. His five
points and one rebound were both season lows.

"Cartier is our leader and our scorer," said Taybron, who
started for injured point guard Clent Stewart and scored 12 points.
"With him not in the game, we have to get other guys in there to
step up and score."

Lance Harris, held to four points in Saturday's 72-60 victory
over Colorado, led the Wildcats with 18 points but was 0-for-3 from
the field over the final 2:13.

"We had three chances in the last few minutes to take the lead,
but we just weren't able to make a play," Wooldridge said.

Hoskins added 16 points for Kansas State.

The Wildcats led only once, when Taybron opened the game with a
3-pointer, and trailed by six at halftime. Harris' basket with just
over 6 minutes left got Kansas State within 57-56, but the Wildcats
never tied it.

"We've had to work hard for wins all year," Barnes said, "but
in some ways winning a game like this is better for us than if we
won it by an eight- or nine-point spread because we had to work for
it."

The outcome might have been different had the Wildcats gotten to
keep Taybron's apparent basket late in the first half. But a held
ball was called before Taybron got the shot off, and Kansas State
turned the ball over on its inbounds pass.

"It kind of hurt, because I thought I was fouled," Taybron
said. "But you just have to move on and play the rest of the
game."

The Longhorns hit their first four shots from the field --
including two 3-pointers -- and led 14-4 less than 4 minutes into
the game. But Kansas State, which missed eight of its first nine
shots, got within 32-30 on Harris' basket with just over 4 minutes
left in the half.

Texas answered with a 7-0 run, though, and led 42-36 at
halftime. It wasn't a one-possession game again until Harris scored
with 10:51 left to get Kansas State within 53-50.

Stewart, who injured his ankle against Colorado, did not play
Wednesday night.