CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Admon Gilder scored 18 points to help Texas A&M hold off Providence 73-69 in Friday's first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Robert Williams and Tyler Davis both had double-doubles for the Aggies (21-12), the No. 7 seed in the West Region. The teams were tied at 50 with about 9 minutes left but Texas A&M responded with a 12-2 run to finally wrestle control away from the Friars.
Gilder hit a straightaway 3 with 2:49 left to cap that flurry for a 62-52 lead.
Davis had 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Williams added 13 points and 14 boards -- including a highlight-reel windmill dunk with 39.2 seconds left as the Aggies did just enough to put it away.
Rodney Bullock scored 22 points with three 3-pointers for 10th-seeded Providence (21-14), which shot 44 per cent but never recovered from A&M's critical-moment burst.
Providence: The Friars were making their fifth straight tournament trip and had earned wins against 1-seeds Xavier (twice) and Villanova this season. But they couldn't speed the Aggies up nor keep them off the boards to take advantage of their guard play and advance.
Texas A&M: The Aggies were up and down all year, from hitting No. 5 in the AP Top 25 in December to starting 0-5 in the Southeastern Conference. But they came up with key baskets when they had to have them, and their game-long work on the boards -- up 44-26 by the finish -- was a heck of an advantage.
Texas A&M: The Aggies advanced to play the Lipscomb-North Carolina winner in Sunday's second round.