Durant, Longhorns hold off New Mexico State
Spokane, WA (Sports Network) – Freshman star Kevin Durant dropped in a game-
high 27 points and also pulled down eight rebounds, as Texas fended off a
feisty New Mexico State club, 79-67, in the opening round of the NCAA
Tournament at Spokane Arena.
D.J. Augustin chipped in with 19 points and A.J. Abrams scored 16 for fourth-
seeded Texas (26-9), which advances to play the winner of USC-Arkansas in the
second round. It was not easy, however, as the Aggies stayed competitive the
entire contest and owned a three-point lead in the latter stages of the game.
Elijah Ingram paced his club with 16 points and Hatila Passos donated 15 for
the Western Athletic Conference-champion Aggies (25-9), who made their first
trip to the tournament since 1999.
Texas led by three at intermission but was finally able to establish some
breathing room early in the second half, using a 12-0 burst to go ahead 47-33.
Connor Atchley had five points over that span, and Craig Winder capped it with
a layup with a shade under 15 minutes left.
That was not the end of New Mexico State, which chipped away over the next
several minutes and eventually cut the deficit to one with about 10 minutes
left on a Passos layup.
The underdog continued to attack, and a pair of Passos free throws minutes
later put the Aggies ahead 60-57.
The Longhorns rose to the occasion once more, netting 12 of the next 14 points
to reclaim command. Durant drew trips to the free throw line three times in
that run and made all six attempts, including a pair with under four minutes
left to make it 69-62. The Aggies got no closer than five the rest of the way.
New Mexico State gave Texas all they could handle in the first half as well,
and built a 27-21 lead with just over four minutes to play after Ted Knauber
nailed a three.
The Longhorns, though, responded with a 7-0 run to erase the deficit and move
in front by one. Augustin kick started the surge with a triple, and Abrams
followed with a jumper to pull his team within one. Durant polished things off
with a bucket of his own to put Texas ahead, 28-27.
The score remained tight in the closing minutes, but Abrams rose up and sank a
three-pointer in the final 30 seconds to give the Longhorns a 33-30 edge at
The Aggies are 10-19 all-time in the tourney, including a 5-12 mark in the
first round. They haven’t advanced past the first round since 1993…The
Longhorns, who have made nine straight tournament appearance, improved their
record to 28-28 at the event…This was the first meeting between these teams