Aggies handle Providence, 73-69

Aggies handle Providence, 73-69

Texas A&M wound up shooting 50 percent from the field after the tough start although having a tough time at the line in only making 15-of-26. For that, PC coach Ed Cooley took the blame. "They would throw the ball in nearly every possession and when doubled they would get tough layups We tried to limit their second shot opportunities, but as good as a team they was, they got some crucial ones". The four-point final margin makes the game look closer than it was; Providence trailed by 11 in the final two minutes and made things look more dignified with a few garbage-time points. But for the fourth time in that span, the Friars didn't advance a round.

Tyler Davis finished with a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Robert Williams had a double-double of his won with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

"In the beginning of the game, I thought we did come out with low energy", said Bullock, who finished his career with 1,404 points.

"We just wanted to put our foot down, let people know that we're here", Williams said. He also turned the ball over 6 times, as many as the entire Friars team.

With the win, the Aggies improve to 21-12 on the season and live to see another day in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Texas A&M was shooting 60 percent in the second half after hitting on 33 percent in the first.

The seventh-seeded Aggies lead the 10th-seeded Friars 28-27 at halftime in the West Region first round.

All five North Carolina starters scored in the double digits, led by junior guard Kenny Williams' 18 points.

After Providence knocked down those 3-pointers in the second half, the Aggies started switching on screens and limited the damage the rest of the game.

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The Friars retook a small edge early in the second half, but Texas A&M used a 10-0 run to lead 45-37.

It's a much thinner Lady Bear roster this season, clearing the way for the 6-foot-4 Cox to form a duo with 6-7 All-American Kalani Brown that's hard for any team in the nation to handle - but particularly one as undersized as Grambling State.

There was a moment when it appeared Providence just might claw its way back into contention against Texas A&M in the teams' opening game of the NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center. "Man we played hard", Davis said.

The Bisons were led by sophomore guard Kenny Cooper's 14 points and junior forward Rob Marberry's 13 points and 7 rebounds. Williams and Davis both scored down on the block and Gilder nailed a big 3-point shot that was punctuated by a fist to the heavens. "Once I hit the three, I felt good and all the emotion came out of me". The Friars' lead was 6-2.

Williams offered the punctuating play when he blocked a last-minute 3-point attempt from Rodney Bullock and raced down the floor, taking a pass from Gilder and rising for a windmill dunk with 39.2 seconds left.

"I actually wanted to go between my legs", Williams said to laughter, "but I thought Coach would take me out".

"Their length was very impressive", Cooley said. We don't have anybody to sub for them.

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