SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Kevin Durant's first NCAA tournament game went just as his first collegiate regular season. Splendidly beyond his years.
The 18-year-old candidate for national player of the year had 27 points and eight rebounds to lead fourth-seeded Texas to a 79-67 victory over hard-charging New Mexico State on Friday night in the first round of the East Regional.
Durant's long-armed tip-ins, smooth pivot moves, sudden pull-up jumpers and blocked shots had NBA scouts chuckling courtside. Then he went the first 12 minutes of the second half without a field goal but made 11 of 12 free throws in the second half and 15-of-16 overall.
He connected on two from the line after a rebound with 1:10 left that put Texas ahead 75-66 and essentially ended the game.
Classmate D.J. Augustine had 19 points and seven assists, and sophomore A.J. Abrams added 16 points for the Longhorns (25-9), who start four freshmen and have seven on their 12-man roster.
Elijah Ingram had 16 points for 13th-seeded New Mexico State (25-9), which was making its first NCAA appearance since 1999 but still has not advanced past the first round since '93.