West Region: Texas A&M sneaks past Providence with 73-69 victory

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Getty Images

Texas A&M (21-12) advanced to Sunday's second-round game against No. 2 seed North Carolina, which beat Lipscomb. Anriel Howard, who set an NCAA tournament record with 27 rebounds in A&M's 2016 first-round home win over Missouri State, led the Aggies with 10 rebounds this year.

But UMBC didn't just beat Virginia, it dominated throughout the second half.

A&M was dominant on the boards, outrebounding Providence 44-26.

Sophomore Brenni Rose, who played in high school at Shawnee Mission Northwest, had 10 points and four assists on Friday against the Aggies.

Texas A&M had more second-chance points with 7, compared to Providence's 2. But they came up with key baskets when they had to have them, and their game-long work on the boards was a heck of an advantage.

Junior guard Admon Gilder was the leading scorer for Texas A&M in a balanced attack for the Aggies.

Robert Williams and Tyler Davis both had double-doubles for the Aggies (21-12), the No. 7 seed in the West Region.

Screengrab via CBS
Screengrab via CBS

Lyles scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half, and Joe Sherburne finished with 14 points.

One UNC player to watch...

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Bench scoring was controlled by Texas A&M with 8 points off the bench compared to Providence's 4 points. His efficiency from three-point range has dropped off, too, connecting on less than 30 percent of his attempts since the start of the ACC Tournament. Right off the top the Aggies had major problems adjusting to PC's defense as they missed their first 10 shots and turned the ball over four times. If he's able to connect on a three-pointer or two in the first half, it could pull Aggies' defenders out beyond their comfort zone and open up lanes for UNC's guards to drive.

North Carolina could have trouble getting to the foul line in this matchup.

"Their length was very impressive", Cooley said. They led the nation in rebounding margin, and outrebounded a number of their opponents this season that held a decided size advantage. "Our coaches stress to us before the game, the other team emphasizes hitting us, boxing us out". Moreover, the Aggies rank 25th in offensive rebounding percentage (34.4 percent), while the Tar Heels rank 57th in defensive rebounding percentage (74.4 percent).

The first round of the NCAA Tournament continues Friday, and the action will tip off with a No. 7 vs. She also had 11 assists, five rebounds and six steals.

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