Bring on the Bruins

Josh Carter led the way for the Aggies with a career high 26 points. Now, he and the rest of the Aggies are hoping to carry that momentum into Saturday's match up with top-seed UCLA in what amounts to a home game for the Bruins. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a first look at the match up with comments from A&M players and UCLA head coach Ben Howland.

ANAHEIM, Calif—If we've said it once we've said it a million times—Success for Josh Carter equals success for Texas A&M, and on Thursday afternoon in Anaheim, those words rang true once again.

Carter came out firing on all cylinders in the Aggies' first-round match up against BYU, hitting three three-pointers in the first four minutes of the game to lead the Aggies to an early 11-0 lead over the Cougars. But he wasn't done there. The junior swing man had 17 points at halftime, and finished the game with 26 points—tying his career high.

"I felt great," Carter said. My teammates kept telling me all week to just keep shooting and it would begin to fall for you, and it was great to be able to get off to a great start."

Carter was 7-of-34 from the field in the Aggies' last four games before Wednesday night, scoring a total of 23 points in those four games.

Now A&M head coach Mark Turgeon is hopeful that he has a little more lightening left in that bottle for Saturday's match up with the hometown Bruins from UCLA with a trip to the Sweet 16 in Phoenix next weekend on the line.

"It feels good to have a good performance," Carter said. "But we didn't come here to just win one game. We want to keep it rolling, and whoever we get tomorrow we're going to play hard, and we just want to keep doing it, keep winning."

That confidence will be needed on Saturday night when the Aggies return to the Honda Center against the West's No. 1 seed UCLA in what amounts to a home game for the Bruins. The blue and gold was in full effect on Thursday night and it will no doubt be even more of a factor for the second round game against a much tougher Texas A&M team.

The biggest challenge for the Aggies will be stopping the quick, athletic guards, which are sure to put as much pressure on the A&M backcourt as any squad this year. But A&M will also have to find an answer for UCLA big man Kevin Love, who did not appear to be 100 percent in the Bruins' win against Mississippi Valley State on Thursday, repeatedly stretching his back during stoppages.

"I've watched him on TV all year and they're great team," Carter said. "They have great players, they're going to be hard to guard, I'm sure, but I mean we're a great team, too, and we're just looking forward to that match-up."

UCLA head coach Ben Howland and Love are looking forward to the match up as well, but Howland is concerned about the Aggies' physical style of play that gave the Bruins fits last year in the same arena.

"That (game against A&M last year) was the most physical game we played in the last year," Howland said. "Jones is just a big, strong kid inside. Davis is huge and (Chinemelu Elonu) is an animal. They're just so strong and athletic. They have as big a front line, as athletic a front line as there are in the country. Then their wings are 6'5" and 6'6." They can (also) really shoot, especially Carter. So we have our hands full and we're going to need all."

So will the Aggies.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. CDT in what could be one of the best games of the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.




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