Robert Williams and seven-seed Texas A&M kicked Providence and its ghoulish, always-lurking mascot out of the NCAA tournament in the most glorious fashion possible.
Texas A&M used a complete team performance Friday afternoon, getting double-digit performances from four players to push past the 10-seed Friars 73-69. Williams was one of those big four, contributing 13 points, while guard Admon Gilder paced the Aggies with 18.
Providence played a tight offensive game pretty much all afternoon—the Friars finished with just four turnovers, well below their season average of 12.5. Friars guard Alpha Diallo and forward Rodney Bullock combined for 43 points while point guard Kyron Cartwright powered the offense efficiently with nine assists against three turnovers. The issue for Providence was that they couldn’t get anything going from long range, finishing 6-of-20 from behind the arc, including an 0-for-4 stretch over the final five minutes. Down multiple possessions at the end of a game, that kind of shooting just won’t play.
But enough basketball talk—the game and this blog are about The Robert Williams Show, which arrived in style during the final minute of a close game. The freshman forward from Oil City, La. is an athletic marvel, and the 6-foot-9 leaper spent both the non-conference and SEC slates crafting the perfect hoop mixtape. Here he is making Arizona look like a junior high AAU squad:
Here he is leaping what feels like a mile to block a three-pointer against Kentucky:
And, finally, here he is doing something just incredibly cruel to that same Wildcats team:
The guy’s a star, is what I’m saying. Against Providence, Williams, the reigning SEC Defensive player of the year, saved his best for the final minute of regulation. With A&M up seven with 45 seconds left, Providence’s Bullock tried an NBA-range trey from the top of the key, which Williams rather rudely swatted it away. The ball was batted towards halfcourt, where Gildor corralled the ball and fed it ahead to a sprinting Williams, who, well, did this.