Texas A&M Knocks Off BYU, 67-62

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ANAHEIM, CA -- After blowing an 11-point first-half lead, Texas A&M needed someone to bail it out. Josh Carter did the honors.

Carter scored 26 points, matching his career high, as the Aggies defeated Brigham Young 67-62 in the West Region's first round on Thursday, handing the Cougars their sixth straight opening-round loss.

Joseph Jones added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the ninth-seeded Aggies, who will face the UCLA-Mississippi Valley State winner on Saturday.

Jonathan Tavernari led BYU with 15 points.

The Cougars erased their big early deficit, and they nearly climbed out of a six-point hole in the final minute. Jimmer Fredette's 3-pointer with 59 seconds to play sliced the Aggies' lead to 63-60.

But Dominique Kirk answered with a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, and Jones hit a free throw 11 seconds later to put the game away.

The teams were tied at 29-29 at halftime and battled on even terms throughout the second half, with no more than four points separating them.

BYU set a school record with 278 3-pointers this year. But they made only 7-for-22 (31.8 percent) from beyond the arc while Texas A&M hit 8-for-16 (50 percent).

The Aggies bolted to an 11-0 lead behind Carter, who hit three 3-pointers in the first six minutes.

He finished 10-for-16 from the field and 6-for-10 from beyond the arc.

The Cougars missed their first eight shots and didn't score until Lee Cummard slammed home a missed shot with 13:55 to play in the first half. Twelve minutes into the game, the Cougars had more turnovers (four) than buckets (three).

It looked as if a rout were in the making. Then the Cougars' shooters started finding their range.

Trailing 24-16 with 4:31 to go in the first half, BYU went on a 13-2 run capped by 3-pointers by Tavernari and Jimmer Fredette, and the teams were tied at 29-29 at halftime.

The Aggies entered the tournament hoping to build on last year's run to the round of 16, which ended with a one-point loss to Memphis. Texas A&M doesn't have an illustrious tourney history - the Aggies have a total of seven victories in nine trips - but it is no longer content to draw a bid.

The Aggies played two days after attending the funeral for guard Donald Sloan's mother, Sandra Sloan. Sloan, a sophomore from Dallas, started and scored eight points with six assists and five rebounds.