NCAA Latest: Texas A&M-Providence opens tournament's Day 2

Day #1: NCAA Men's Basketball Championship First And Second Rounds

There was a moment when it appeared Providence just might claw its way back into contention against Texas A&M in the teams' opening game of the NCAA Tournament at Spectrum Center.

The lead grew to 65-54 with 2:07 left after PC's Nate Watson was called for a curious intentional foul on Davis when he grabbed the big man's shoulder as he powered up for a field goal.

With less than a minute on the clock and a seven-point lead in favor of No. 7 seed Texas A&M, the Friars' Rodney Bullock went up for a 3 to shrink their deficit.

"I know what we're capable of", said Davis, who finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

"It happens at the beginning of the game. We haven't been as successful to the extent that I want to be but all I can do is try my best the next time". The Aggies had 17 turnovers in losses to Florida, Tulane, Missouri and Alabama, 14 to Kansas, 13 in a loss to Arkansas and 12 in losses to Alabama and Kentucky.

"It's something we take pride in every game", said Robert Williams, sophomore forward for Texas A&M.

Beginning NCAA play as a top seed for the first time in school history, the Cardinals (33-2) used quick spurts early in both halves, along with defense, to cruise to victory. Providence finished its season with a 21-14 record.

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After the break, Nate Watson split a pair of free throws to tie the game, but T.J. Starks knocked down a three to make it a 3-point game again. He averaged 9 points and 4 assists per game for Texas A&M during the season.

There might have been contact, but no whistle came. Coleman and Campbell also combined to go 7-9 from three, and should be a good answer and competitive match up for the Aggies' Carter and Williams.

The Aggies will move on to face the victor of another first-round game between North Carolina and Lipscomb on Sunday. The Aggies also struggled with three-pointers, making only seven of the 16 they attempted.

Providence made the NCAA field for the fifth year in a row.

"His play in going downhill, he's really hard to stop once he gets going", A&M coach Billy Kennedy said.

"When we were watching, the next thing you see was him rising out of nowhere and windmilling it", senior guard Joel Berry said. The Big East is off to a promising start in this tournament and I think Providence pulls off the upset in this one today. And whatever we can do out there, if I have to get up on a circus tent and help sell tickets, [I will]. "If we keep them out of transition and limit offensive rebounds for them, we have a good chance of winning".

Johnson can be reached at 757-247-4649. "It's just been great for five years here".

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