GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - A.J. Abrams hit eight 3-pointers and scored 26 points to help Texas beat Minnesota 76-62 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night.
Damion James added 18 points and nine rebounds for the seventh-seeded Longhorns (23-11), who hit 11 of 20 3s overall to win their tournament opener for the fifth time in six seasons.
Texas had lost seven of its last 14 games dating to late January, but now heads into the second round of the East Region to face the Duke-Binghamton winner Saturday.
Lawrence Westbrook scored 19 points for the 10th-seeded Golden Gophers (22-11), who were making their first tournament appearance since 2005. It was also Minnesota's first NCAA bid under Tubby Smith, who left Kentucky two seasons ago to rebuild the struggling Big Ten program.
Minnesota got off to its best start in more than 30 years at 16-1, but closed the year by losing 10 of 16.
(Copyright 2009 By The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)