Rushed Reactions: #7 Texas A&M 73, #10 Providence 69

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 16th, 2018

RTC will be providing coverage of the NCAA Tournament from start to finish. Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) is in Charlotte this weekend.

Andy Kennedy used his dominant frontline to beat Providence in the NCAA First Round. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Texas A&M’s size was a big problem for the Friars. The Aggies start three players that are at least 6″9″ and they controlled the paint for most of the game against the smaller Providence frontcourt. The two biggest Aggies — Tyler Davis and Robert Williams — each posted a double-double and combined for 27 points and 29 rebounds this afternoon. Overall, Texas A&M finished with a decisive edge on the boards (+18) and its bigs protected the rim (8-0 advantage in blocks). Credit Providence for how hard they played, but the Friars couldn’t overcome that disadvantage up front.
  2. Providence is not good at shooting the ball. The Friars have struggled to make shots all year (49.6% effective FG rate – 219th in the country) and today was no different. Except for a brief stretch midway through the second half when they made three consecutive three-pointers to erase an eight-point deficit, Ed Cooley’s guys couldn’t find the range. Texas A&M played a mixture of zone and man-to-man to keep Providence off balance. For the game, the Friars shot only 43.5 percent from the field and were just 6-of-20 from behind the arc.
  3. TJ Starks held his own in the point guard battle. This was the one spot on the floor that Providence looked like it had a clear edge — senior Kyron Cartwright versus freshman TJ Starks. But Starks played well enough that the matchup turned out to be a draw, which was a big plus for Billy Kennedy. Starks did struggle at times with the Friars’ pressure — finishing with six turnovers. But he more than made up for that by posting 15 points and dishing eight assists. His counterpart Cartwright closed out his career with 11 points, nine assists and two steals.

Player of the Game. Tyler Davis, Texas A&MThe Aggies’ big center made his presence felt in the paint, scoring 14 points, grabbing 15 boards and blocking two shots. He could have easily scored more if not for a subpar day from the foul line (2-of-8 FT).


  • “We did a good job of getting it inside and we did a good job rebounding for the most part.” – Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy, on the keys to the game today.
  • “We hang our hat on defense.” – Tyler Davis, on how the Aggies overcame their cold shooting start.
  • “We just didn’t play with the purpose and energy we have in the past.” – Providence coach Ed Cooley, on why his team lost.
  • “Their length really bothered us.” –  Alpha Diallo, on his team’s offensive struggles against Texas A&M’s size.

Sights and Sounds. Usually, the arena is sort of dead for first game of the day when no local schools are in action, and that was the case again today. But Providence had a better presence in the building then Texas A&M and its fans were much more vocal — particularly in the first half when the Friars were whistled for far more fouls than were the Aggies.

What’s Next. Texas A&M advances to the Second Round on Sunday where it will presumably meet second-seeded North Carolina. The winner then moves on to the West Regional in Los Angeles.

Brad Jenkins (383 Posts)

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