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A&M Runs Past James Madison into Sweet Sixteen, 85-69

March 25, 2014
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)-- Courtney Williams scored 23 points and Karla Gilbert added 20 points with 15 rebounds to help Texas A&M to an 85-69 win over James Madison on Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The victory sends the third-seeded Aggies (26-8) to the round of 16 for the sixth time and their first since 2012.

The Aggies used an 8-2 run to build a 10-point lead early in the second half and answered each time James Madison (29-6) cut the advantage. The Dukes got within seven points with about seven minutes remaining, but A&M used an 8-0 run with four points from Gilbert to make it 81-66.

Kirby Burkholder led 11th-seeded James Madison with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but had to sit out for a chunk of the second half with foul trouble. She fouled out with 1:43 remaining.

Burkholder wasn't the only James Madison player to struggle with fouls as several other players had to spend time on the bench after picking up multiple fouls trying to slow down the 6-foot-5 Gilbert.

The Aggies beat No. 14 seed North Dakota in the first round and James Madison knocked off No. 6 seed Gonzaga for their first tournament win since 1991 to set up the first-ever meeting between these teams.

Courtney Walker, who finished with 18 points, and Williams led the Aggies as they built the lead to 10 early in the second half. James Madison missed seven shots, including three layups in that stretch.

The Dukes finally got their offense going again after that, outscoring A&M 6-2 to get within 61-55. But A&M quickly added a basket by Gilbert and Burkholder got her fourth foul seconds after that, sending her to the bench with more than 12 minutes remaining.

Texas A&M used another 8-2 run with Burkholder on the bench to extend the lead to 71-59 with less than 10 minutes left. Jones capped that run with a 3-pointer.

Precious Hall and Jazmon Gwathmey added 14 points each for James Madison and Toia Giggetts had 12.

James Madison led by six points midway through the first half before A&M used an 8-0 run to take a 24-22 lead. The Dukes were helped in that stretch when Nikki Newman picked up her third foul and received a technical on the same play for yelling at the officials and went to the bench for the rest of the first half.

A&M made three of the four free throws from that play before a layup by Gilbert gave the Aggies their first lead since it was 2-0.

The Dukes were up by one soon after that when the Aggies used a 7-2 spurt to take a 33-28 lead.

Texas A&M maintained the lead for the rest of the first half and a basket by Curtyce Knox left A&M up 47-43 at halftime.





Team Record & Series Notes:

With the victory, Texas A&M improved to 26-8 on the season and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the sixth time where it will face seventh-seeded DePaul on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. … The Aggies are now 20-9 all-time in 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.

The loss snapped James Madison’s six game winning streak as the Dukes finish their season with a 29-6 record.

Texas A&M now holds a 1-0 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools.

Texas A&M Team Notes:

• Texas A&M has now won a conference championship or advanced to the Sweet 16 in every season since 2006-07 … This is the 10th Sweet 16 trip for Gary Blair.

• For the game, the Aggies shot 50 percent from the floor (29-for-58) marking the 11th time this season they’ve hit the 50 percent plateau in shooting.

The Aggies owned a 42-36 edge in the rebounding column and outscored the Dukes 36-28 in points in the paint.

• Texas A&M’s senior class is 11-2 in the NCAA Tournament, which is the third-best tournament winning percentage among active senior classes.

• Texas A&M is 19-4 since Dec. 28 and has won nine of its last 11 games.

The Aggies earned a season-best 37 free throw shots in the contest, making 24 for a 64.9 percentage.

The 43 points allowed by the Aggies in the first half was the most they’ve yielded in an opening half this season, topping a 39-point first half by Kentucky on Feb. 23.

Texas A&M Individual Notes:

• Sophomore Courtney Williams finished with 23 points to score in double figures for the 23rd time this season and third time in four career NCAA Tournament games.

• Senior Karla Gilbert notched her seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points and a career high-tying 15 rebounds … She reached double figures in points for the 18th time this season and second time in this NCAA Tournament while extending her Texas A&M single season blocked shots record to 66.

• Sophomore Courtney Walker scored 18 points to reach double-figure scoring for the 11th straight game, including all four SEC and NCAA Tournament games … She has scored in double figures 29 times this season.

• Sophomore Jordan Jones dished out 16 assists to reached double figures in dimes for the sixth straight game, including all four SEC and NCAA Tournament games … The 16 helpers are the most since Sydney Colson notched 15 vs Nebraska on March 3, 2011.


James Madison Team Notes:

The Dukes made 24-of-65 field goal attempts in the game (36.9%) while converting 19-of-21 shots from the free throw line (90.5%).

James Madison’s 29 wins this season equals the most victories the program has posted during head coach Kenny Brooks’ 12-year tenure … JMU has won 20 or more games in each of the nine seasons.

The game stood out as just the third time this season the Dukes have yielded 85 points or more in a contest … JMU entered the NCAA Tournament allowing just 54.8 points per game.

James Madison Individual Notes:

Senior Kirby Burkholder notched her 12th double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds … She was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line to end the season with 30 consecutive successful attempts at the charity stripe.

Burkholder drew her 80th career start to move into a tie for ninth all-time at JMU … She also ranks third with 132 career starts for the Dukes.

Additionally, Burkholder made one 3-point basket to give her 110 treys for the season, second most in program history.

Junior forward Toia Giggetts finished the night with 12 points to post her 32nd consecutive game in double-digit scoring.

Senior Nikki Newman started her 120th career game, ending her career in a tie for fifth most in program history … She ranks first all-time with 147 games played at JMU.



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