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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Men’s basketball set to take on UNC in second round of NCAA Tournament

Junior+Admon+Gilder%26%23160%3Bscored+14+points+for+Texas+A%26amp%3BM+in+the+victory+over+Alabama.
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Junior Admon Gilder scored 14 points for Texas A&M in the victory over Alabama.

The Texas A&M men’s basketball team will face North Carolina at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Tar Heels are the defending NCAA Champions and are currently the No. 2 seed in this year’s tournament.
“To play against a Carolina team here in Charlotte is something that every coach and every player would be looking forward to,” A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said. “We’re really excited to be playing against a really good team. [We] know we’re going to have to play really well to get the win.”
The seventh-seeded Aggies are 21-12 ( 9-9 SEC) and are coming off a 73-69 win over Providence in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina holds a season record of 26-10, with a 11-7 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tar Heels topped Lipscomb 84-66 on Friday. The win continued head coach Roy Williams’s winning streak in NCAA Tournament first round games, making him 28-0 in his career.
“It’s a blessing to be able to compete against such a good team, such a great coach,” junior center Tyler Davis said. “This is what all the work’s done for. You live for these opportunities.”
Against Providence on Friday, two Aggies earned double-doubles. Davis posted 14 points and 15 rebounds and sophomore forward Robert Williams had 13 points and 14 rebounds. Junior guard Admon Gilder led the Aggies in points with 18, the most the junior has ever scored in his four career NCAA Tournament games.
TJ Starks, though just a freshman, also put up some impressive numbers in the game. Starks contributed 15 points and eight assists against Providence, setting a NCAA Tournament assists record for Texas A&M. Kennedy gives Starks some credit for the Aggies’ success thus far.
“His first start was at Kansas.” Kennedy said. “I think it helped get him ready for this moment. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re here today because he’s been through some different things and our team has been through some different things, and we’ve weathered the storm and been pretty resilient through it.”
These “storms” that Kennedy alluded to, include injuries to Gilder, Williams, and guard Duane Wilson, who was forced to end his collegiate career in February because of a knee injury.
“The injuries were the biggest problems,” Kennedy said. “When you lose Duane Wilson who’s an older senior for us and one of the true experienced guys that we had that’s been in the NCAA Tournament, that’s played in the Big East, that was a big loss. And losing Admon Gilder the first four games of conference play is not when you want to lose a guy to injury.”
Though the Aggies are going into this matchup with only a day’s rest, they are confident in their abilities going forward.
“We just stick to the coach’s plan,” Gilder said. “We try to play our brand of basketball each and every game. And like we’ve seen last night on the TV, it’s anybody’s game. So as long as we come out and play hard and play aggressive, it’s anybody’s game.”
Williams added to this sentiment, though he recognizes the challenge that lies ahead.
“We definitely feel like we have an advantage obviously against anybody on the inside because of what we do,” Williams said. “Carolina is a different matchup. Their bigs, 1 through 5, shoot. It’s going to be a difficult task for us.”
The game is set for 4:15 p.m. on Sunday at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center.

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