Kentucky Wildcats head basketball coach John Calipari led his team to a 79-44 win over Abilene Christian on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
March 21 (UPI) -- The NCAA tournament's opening round kicked off Thursday with No. 1 seed Gonzaga coasting to a blowout victory and second-seeded Kentucky beating Abilene Christian.
Murray State (No. 12 seed), Florida (No. 10 seed), Minnesota (No. 10 seed) and Baylor (No. 9) provided the only upsets of higher-seeded teams during Thursday's slate of games.
Below is a roundup of all the action from the first round of the NCAA tournament.
No. 10 Minnesota 86, No. 7 Louisville 76
Minnesota won its first NCAA tournament game in six years after a dazzling performance from freshman Gale Kalscheur.
Kalscheur had 24 points and Amir Coffey added 18 points to guide the Gophers to the upset win.
No. 3 LSU 79, No. 14 Yale 74
LSU junior guard Skylar Mays drained four free throws in the last 15 seconds to guide the Tigers to the second round of the tournament.
The Tigers continued to play without head coach Will Wade. The school indefinitely suspended Wade after he was caught on an FBI wiretap talking with Christian Dawkins about an "offer" to a recruit.
LSU advanced to the second round for the second time in five years. The Tigers play No. 6 Maryland on Saturday.
No. 5 Auburn 78, No. 12 New Mexico State 77
New Mexico State's Terrell Brown was fouled while attempting a potential game-winning shot against the Tigers. Brown went to the charity stripe and missed two out of three free throws with 1.1 seconds left as Auburn escaped with the victory.
Junior guard Jared Harper led the Tigers with 17 points. Auburn plays No. 4 Kansas in the second round.
No. 4 Florida State 76, No. 13 Vermont 69
Mfiondu Kabengele finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds to guide the Seminoles to an opening-round win in the West Region.
Florida State challenges No. 12 Murray State in the second round.
No. 2 Michigan State 76, No. 15 Bradley 65
Tom Izzo showed his fiery coaching style in the Spartans' first-round victory. Izzo had a verbal exchange with freshman Aaron Henry that led to multiple players separating the two.
Michigan State star guard Cassius Winston had 26 points in the win. MSU plays No. 10 Minnesota on Saturday.
No. 6 Maryland 79, No. 11 Belmont 77
Belmont had a chance at a last-second upset but fell short against the Maryland Terrapins.
Maryland's Darryl Morsell came up with a clutch defensive stop in the final stage of the game to seal the win. The Terps play No. 3 LSU in the next round.
No. 4 Kansas 87, No. 13 Northeastern 53
Kansas cruised to an easy victory against Northeastern behind Dedric Lawson's 25 points and 11 rebounds.
The Jayhawks dominated inside, outscoring the Huskies 50-16 in the paint while grabbing 17 more rebounds.
Kansas faces No. 5 Auburn in the second round Saturday.
No. 12 Murray State 83, No. 5 Marquette 64
Ja Morant had the ninth triple-double in NCAA tournament history as Murray State raced to a huge win over Marquette. Morant had 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds.
The Racers play No. 4 Florida State in the second round. Murray State is 1-2 in three meetings with FSU.
No. 10 Florida 70, No. 7 Nevada 61
The Gators were the third double-digit seed to prevail Thursday. Kevarrius Hayes scored 16 points and Jalen Hudson added 15 to pace Florida.
Florida takes on No. 2 seed Michigan in the next round.
No. 2 Kentucky 79, No. 15 Abilene Christian 44
Even without PJ Washington, who sat out with an injury, the Wildcats dominated Abilene Christian. Freshman guard Keldon Johnson scored a game-high 25 points in his tournament debut.
Kentucky challenges No. 7 Wofford in its next matchup Saturday.
No. 1 Gonzaga 87, No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson 49
Rui Hachimura led Gonzaga with 21 points and eight rebounds as the Zags cruised to a blowout win.
The No. 1-seeded Bulldogs play No. 9 Baylor in the second round.
No. 6 Villanova 61, No. 11 Saint Mary's 57
The defending NCAA champions held off Saint Mary's behind Phil Booth's 20-point outing.
The Wildcats play No. 3 Purdue on Saturday.
No. 2 Michigan 74, No. 15 Montana 55
Charles Matthews had 22 points and 10 rebounds in Michigan's blowout win over Montana.
The Wolverines play No. 10 Florida in the second round.
No. 7 Wofford 84, No. 10 Seton Hall 68
Seton Hall rallied but ultimately fell to Wofford as Fletcher Magee set the Division I record for 3-pointers. Wofford shot 13-of-28 from 3-point range.
Wofford gets the No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats in the second round.
No. 9 Baylor 78, No. 8 Syracuse 69
Baylor solved Syracuse's zone defense by going 16-of-34 from 3-point territory, launching the Bears into the second round.
Baylor has a matchup with No. 1 Gonzaga in the second round Saturday.
No. 3 Purdue 61, No. 14 Old Dominion 48
In the final game of the opening day of the NCAA tournament, Purdue's Carsen Edwards scored 26 points to lead the Boilermakers to a first-round win.
Purdue takes on Villanova in the next round.