Memphis, LSU and Texas A&M have won their NCAA tournament openers. Roburt Sallie had the game of his life with 35 points, and second-seeded Memphis beat Cal State-Northridge 81-70 Thursday to avoid what would have been one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history. Marcus Thornton scored 30 points and LSU held off a late rally to beat Butler 75-71. And with Bryan Davis leading the way, Texas A&M beat Brigham Young 79-66.
Sallie, who was averaging barely 4 points for the Tigers (32-3), sank 10 of 15 3-pointers, a first-round tournament record.
The Matadors (17-14), 19-point underdogs who overcame a sequence of tragedy and off-the-court problems just to reach the tourney, took advantage of miserable shooting by most of the other Tigers and led by six points with 10:08 to play.
But a few minutes later, Antonio Anderson led the Tigers on a 9-0 run and last year's NCAA national runners-up finally took control.
Since the NCAA went to a 64-team format in 1985, only four No. 2 seeds have lost to a No. 15 in the first round.
Tasmin Mitchell had 14 points and Chris Johnson added 12 points for the LSU Tigers (27-7), seeded eighth in the South Regional. They advanced to Saturday's second round against the North Carolina-Radford winner.
Matt Howard scored 22 points before fouling out with 35.7 seconds left for No. 9 seed Butler.
The Bulldogs (26-6) made things interesting by twice pulling within three in the final minute. The last came when Willie Veasley tipped in Gordon Hayward's missed 3 with 5.4 seconds left made it 74-71, before Johnson hit one of two free throws with 4.5 seconds left to seal it.
Hayward, Butler's top 3-point shooter, finished with 12 points for the Bulldogs, who lost in the first round for the first time since 2000.
Davis scored 21, Donald Sloan had 14 and the ninth-seeded Texas A&M Aggies handed the Cougars their seventh straight opening-round loss in a rematch from last year. Both teams drew the same seeds last March when A&M won 67-62.
The Aggies (24-9) will meet the Connecticut-Chattanooga winner Saturday.
Jimmer Fredette scored 18 and Lee Cummard added 17 for BYU (25-8).
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