Texas-Minnesota: A.J. Abrams, Longhorns Open Tournament With 76-62 Win

Francis ParkmanContributor IMarch 20, 2009

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 19:  A.J. Abrams #3 of the Texas Longhorns reacts after a basket against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 19, 2009 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Minnesota started their first round game against Texas hot, opening with a 15-8 run in the first six minutes of the game Thursday night in Greensboro, North Carolina.

But as you all know, it's not how you start—it's how you finish.

The Golden Gophers shot 52 percent from the field in the first half, but A.J. Abrams hit a jumper with 6:22 left in the first half to give the Longhorns their first lead of the game at 25-24. Abrams wasn't finished though—he hit a three-pointer with three seconds left to give the Longhorns a 39-35 halftime lead.

The second half belonged to Abrams. The Longhorns guard hit four three-pointers in a span of two minutes to blow the game open for Texas. Poor shooting by Minnesota helped; the Golden Gophers shot 31 percent from the field in the second half.

Abrams led all scorers with 26 points, three steals, and two rebounds. Lawrence Westbrook led the Gophers with 19.

Texas will play the No. 2 seed Duke Blue Devils, who beat Binghamton 86-62 today, in the second round of the tournament's East Region. Tip-off is at 8:15 pm on Saturday in Greensboro.