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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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Williams powers Aggies past Providence for first round win, 73-69

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Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

The bench players welcome back sophomore Robert Williams after being subbed.

In the two teams’ first ever meeting, the Texas  A&M men’s basketball team defeated Providence, 73-69,in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Aggies (21-12) struggled to find their stroke in the beginning of the game, missing their first 10 shots. The maroon and white netted their first field goal with 12:41 remaining in the first half.

A&M also struggled to protect the ball in the early minutes, and had seven turnovers with eight minutes remaining in the half. Something clicked for the Aggies in the last eight minutes of the half and the Aggies didn’t commit a single turnover and made 9 of their last 17 shots in the half.

Despite their offensive struggles, A&M played Providence (21-14) stout, forcing them to take their possessions deep into the shot clock and take contested shots.

Though Providence uses a very small lineup, Friar forward Rodney Bullock found success in the paint, especially near the end of the half, netting five points in the last 3:40, and finishing the half with nine points.

The Aggies finished the half on a 12-9 run and took their first lead of the game, 28-27, into the locker room at halftime. Admon Gilder paced the Aggies with nine points at the half, and played all 20 minutes.

A&M relied on their dominant big men duo of Tyler Davis and Robert Williams, who combined for 27 points and 29 rebounds in the second half. The big men tandem notched double-doubles, respectively.

The two teams went toe-to-toe for the majority of the game and found themselves tied at 50 with 9:06 remaining in the game. The maroon and white then initiated a 12-2 run, in which Williams scored five points, which proved to be enough to put the game out of reach.

The Friars gave the Aggies a bit of a scare, making them seal the game at the free throw line. The Aggies netted five out of their eight free throws in the last minute of the game, which was too much for the Friars overcome. Williams iced the game with an electric windmill dunk with 39 seconds remaining.

While the Davis and Williams duo raised eyebrows, the guard duo of TJ Starks and Admon Gilder was phenomenal as well. After producing zero points in the first half, T.J. Starks came out extremely aggressive in the second half, and scored 15 points.  Gilder netted another nine points in the second half and finished with a team-high 18 in the game, playing all 40 minutes.

Though it wasn’t necessarily pretty, the Aggies just needed to survive and advance and were able to do that, defeating Providence 73-69. The Aggies will now face the winner of North Carolina vs. Lipscomb. The Aggies’ second round matchup will take place on Sunday, with the time yet to be determined.
 

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