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DALLAS (AP) _ T.J. Ford came to Texas this season dreaming of leading the nation in assists and going deep into the NCAA tournament. Both goals are alive and well.
The freshman point guard got the Longhorns offense cranked up early, using fastbreaks and 3-pointers to build a big early lead that they maintained for a 70-57 victory over Boston College on Friday night in a Midwest Regional opener.
Ford, showing the poise of a senior, had 20 points, two shy of his best, and seven assists to guide Texas (21-11) to a second-round game Sunday against Mississippi State, which beat McNeese State 70-58.
The Longhorns took control with a 20-4 run midway through the first half, then upped the lead to 22 several minutes before halftime.
Troy Bell, who broke out of a four-game scoring slump with 27 points, got hot to put Boston College (20-12) back into it. His 3-pointer with 12:48 left got the Eagles within five.
But Ford, a pass-first player, switched into scoring mode and had five straight points to get the lead back into double digits. He helped keep it there with a long alley-oop to Royal Ivey that drew roars from a crowd loaded with Texas fans.