Thursday , Mar , 15 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Texas A&M rolls past Penn

Lexington, KY (Sports Network) – Acie Law IV poured in 20 points and grabbed
six rebounds to lead Texas A&M past Penn, 68-52, in the first round of the
South Region of the NCAA Tournament.

Dominique Kirk scored 16 points for the third-seeded Aggies (26-6), who will
play sixth-seeded Louisville in the second round on Saturday. Earlier in the
day, the Cardinals trounced Stanford, 78-58, to advance.

Joseph Jones added 14 points and pulled down 11 boards for Texas A&M, which
shot 47.1 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from three-point range. With
the win, the Aggies tied a program record for victories in a season, set back
in 1979-80.

“We can play better, I think,” Law said. “We have to finish our plays and we
have to do a better job of converting our free throws. But like coach said I
think we did a good job defensively.”

Mark Zoller posted 19 points with seven rebounds for the Ivy League champion
Quakers (22-9), who had a 10-game winning streak snapped. Ibrahim Jaaber
chipped in 16 points in defeat.

“I can’t really tell you what was going through my mind,” Jaaber said.
“Another wasted opportunity. The third time is the charm, that’s what they
say. But it just didn’t work out that way.”

Texas A&M scored the first seven points of the contest before Penn cut it to
11-9 on Justin Reilly’s jumper. The Aggies then went on a 15-4 scamper —
sparked by a three-pointer from Law — for a 26-13 lead with 4:03 left in the
first half.

Bryan Davis’ dunk gave Texas A&M a late 15-point lead, but Jaaber ended the
frame with a layup as Penn trailed 31-18 at halftime.

The Quakers shot just 30 percent from the field in the first half and finished
36.2 percent shooting in the contest.

Penn came out on fire in the first seven minutes of the second, ripping off a
21-6 run — capped by Jaaber’s jump shot — and took its first and only lead
of the game, 39-37.

“We knew they’d make some shots and we weren’t hitting our free throws when
they did,” Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie said. “It’s a 48-minute game and
you’re going to have good and bad periods against a team that has gotten this
far. We just needed to hit some three throws, finish some plays and play a
little faster.”

The Aggies, though, rallied and netted 10 straight points as part of a 24-9
run to make it a 61-48 affair with 1:46 remaining.

Game Notes

The game marked the first-ever meeting between the two schools on the
court…Texas A&M outrebounded Penn, 40-27…Reilly finished with seven
points…The Quakers dropped to 13-25 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.