College Sports

Texas A&M got off to a slow start. Here’s how they broke through against Providence.

Texas A&M's Robert Williams on 13-point performance, highlight dunk: I was 'just creating memories'

Texas A&M star Robert Williams talks about his 13-point performance after his team beat Providence in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 16, 2018.
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Texas A&M star Robert Williams talks about his 13-point performance after his team beat Providence in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 16, 2018.

Texas A&M shook off a slow start and beat Providence 73-69 in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament Friday at Spectrum Center.

It took the seventh-seed Aggies (21-12) more than six minutes to score against the No. 10 Friars (21-14). A&M then used a 12-2 run midway through the second half to put away the Friars, who lost to Villanova in the championship game of last week’s Big East tournament.

A&M, which lost to Alabama in the first round of the SEC tournament, will face No. 2 North Carolina on Sunday in the second round. The Tar Heels won Friday afternoon’s other West Regional game against No. 15 Lipscomb, 84-66.

“We stressed staying together,” forward Tyler Davis said of how his team survived its team’s shaky start, which included 10 consecutive missed shots. The Aggies didn’t score until guard Aaron Gilder made two free throws with 13 minutes, 27 seconds left in the first half. A&M’s first basket came 30 seconds later on a layup by Kyron Cartwright.

A&M was dominant on the boards, outrebounding Providence 44-26. Davis (15) and forward Robert Williams (14) combined for more than the entire Friars team.

Gilder’s 18 points led A&M, while Rodney Bullock had 22 for Providence.

The Aggies’ Williams, who also had 13 points, helped put the game away with an acrobatic dunk with 39 seconds remaining.

“I actually wanted to go between my legs with it, but I thought coach (Billy Kennedy) would take me out,” said Williams “It was a highlight moment, creating memories.”

David Scott: @davidscott14

TEXAS A&M 73, PROVIDENCE 69

PROVIDENCE (21-14): Bullock 8-15 3-3 22, Watson 2-6 1-2 5, Cartwright 5-12 1-2 11, Lindsey 2-5 0-0 6, Diallo 8-19 4-5 21, Young 1-1 0-0 2, Planek 1-1 0-0 2, Edwards 0-0 0-0 0, White 0-0 0-0 0, Jackson 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 27-62 9-12 69.

TEXAS A&M (21-12): Williams 6-9 1-3 13, Hogg 1-6 2-2 5, Davis 6-10 2-8 14, Gilder 6-10 5-6 18, Starks 5-12 3-5 15, Trocha-Morelos 1-4 0-0 3, Chandler 1-1 0-0 3, Flagg 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 26-52 15-26 73.

Halftime—Texas A&M 28-27. 3-Point Goals—Providence 6-20 (Bullock 3-7, Lindsey 2-5, Diallo 1-5, Jackson 0-1, Cartwright 0-2), Texas A&M 6-16 (Starks 2-5, Chandler 1-1, Trocha-Morelos 1-2, Gilder 1-4, Hogg 1-4). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Providence 21 (Diallo 7), Texas A&M 40 (Davis 15). Assists—Providence 17 (Cartwright 9), Texas A&M 13 (Starks 8). Total Fouls—Providence 23, Texas A&M 13.

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