DES MOINES, Iowa — Dylan Disu dominated with a season-high 28 points and Timmy Allen made Jalen Pickett appear mortal as Texas advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008 with a 71-66 win over Penn State on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Disu had 10 points in the final 4:32 to rescue Texas from a frigid perimeter shooting effort (1 of 13 from 3-point range). Sir’Jabari Rice added 13 points.
“Just my teammates and coaching staff believing in me and encouraging me to get to my spots,” Disu said after breaking the school record of made field goals in a tournament game — previously held by Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge — with 14 in 20 attempts.
Allen had nine points, 12 rebounds and three assists while harassing Pickett into seven turnovers.
Texas advances to Kansas City, Mo., for a Midwest Region matchup with the winner of Sunday’s game between Xavier and Pittsburgh.
Pickett had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Camryn Winter led Penn State with 16 points. Andrew Funk, who made 8 of 10 from 3-point range Thursday in the first-round win over Texas A&M, was 2 of 10 from 3-point land and finished with 12 points.
With the clock ticking under one minute, Disu drained a jumper from the wing for a seven-point lead, 65-58, and added two more with 34 seconds remaining on a runout that made it 67-60.
Out of a timeout made possible by Seth Lundy beating three Longhorns to a Penn State missed shot, the Nittany Lions turned the ball over and Marcus Carr carved through the lane from left to right converted a sweeping layup for a 63-58 Texas advantage.
Disu scored on three straight Texas possessions, including a drop-step score to bring the Longhorns back to life for a 61-58 lead with 2:30 left.
Texas’ offense grew stagnant just as Penn State’s backcourt downshifted to take the lead in a span of four offensive possessions. Arterio Morris cut the lead to four points with a transition 3 and Penn State cut it to one point with a corner 3 from Myles Dread. Pickett was called for an offensive foul, his fourth, but after another stop Penn State grabbed a 56-55 lead with 5:10 to go. A steal and Lundy layup made it a 10-0 run, three-point Penn State lead, and brought a Texas timeout.
Interim coach Rodney Terry quickly called for the ball to go back to Disu.
Before the under-8 timeout in the second half, Rice made Texas’ first 3 of the night and the Longhorns, who missed their first 11 tries from deep, held a 55-48 lead.
Pickett picked up his third foul attempting to swat Christian Bishop at the rim. Bishop split the two free throws and Texas held a 48-41 edge with 10 minutes left.
Texas led Penn State 31-23 at halftime, bottling up Pickett and forcing him into five turnovers with just five points in the first 20 minutes.