The Providence Friars and Texas A&M Aggies met for the first time ever on Friday in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament. A&M brought size while the Friars came in riding their guard play, but it was the Aggies frontcourt that would prevail.
Texas A&M opened the game in a 2-3 zone, where Providence was able to move the ball relatively well, despite the bigger Aggie lineup. Texas A&M started 0/5 from the field, but the Friars weren’t able to take full advantage, going 2/7 in the first five minutes. This one had the looks of a rock fight early.
The Aggies were able to battle back and make this an 8-7 game at the under-12 media timeout, while shooting 2/12 from the floor. Providence wasn’t doing themselves any favors by sporting a 31% clip.
Both teams began to find their rhythm just inside the midway point of the first half, but Kalif Young and Nate Watson each picked up two fouls with just under 4 minutes left, limited the Providence frontcourt. The Aggies were quickly able to extend their offense.
The Friars fell into one of their dreaded scoreless droughts before a Rodney Bullock three-point play gave them the lead with 90 seconds left in the half. Tyler Davis then scored underneath, which would put Texas A&M up 28-27 heading into halftime.
Davis hauled in 8 rebounds during the first 20 minutes to lead the Aggies on the glass. They won the battle on the boards 23-16, including 8 of the offensive nature.
Providence came out of halftime on a 6-0 run, spurred by the ability to get the ball inside, but the Aggies would answer with some interior scoring of their own.
The game quickly turned into a grind it out battle, with fights for loose balls on three consecutive possessions. Texas A&M used their size to win those fights, and took their biggest lead at 45-37 with 13:00 remaining, thanks to a 9-0 run. At this point, Providence had just 2 second chance points.
Just as A&M was grabbing all of the momentum, Bullock knocked down back to back threes, and suddenly the Aggies led by just two with 10 minutes left. 60 seconds later, this one would be all knotted up at 50.
Texas A&M then took advantage of a 3+ minute scoreless span from the Friars to take a 62-52 lead with just over 2 and a half minutes left to play. Providence was unable to stop the Aggies’ frontcourt of Davis and Williams, who was also preventing the Friars from getting anything done in the paint.
Providence couldn’t get over the hump, and would ultimately fall 73-69. Texas A&M will face the winner of UNC/Lipscomb.
- As expected, the Texas A&M frontcourt led the charge for the Aggies. Tyler Davis finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Robert Willams had 13 points and 14 rebounds. Admon Gilder had 18 points in 40 minutes of play.
- Rodney Bullock led the way for the Friars with 22 points (8/15 FG) and 5 rebounds. Alpha Diallo had 18 points (7/18 FG).
- The Aggies shot 50% from the floor compared to the Friars 44% clip. A&M was 60% from the field in the second half.
- Texas A&M dominated the glass, out-rebounding Providence 44-26. They also finished with 8 blocks. The Friars had no blocks.