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March 15, 2007

Texas A&M survives scare from Penn

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Acie Law, known as "Captain Clutch," is perhaps the nation's best point guard. He needed plenty of help from his teammates, though, to get Texas A&M past upset-minded Penn.

The Aggies, seeded third in the South, got two key dunks from Joseph Jones and a game-clinching 3-pointer from Dominique Kirk to defeat 11th-seeded Pennsylvania 68-52 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.

Texas A&M (26-6) advanced to play Louisville on Saturday at Rupp Arena. Louisville won 78-58 over Stanford.

Law led the Aggies with 20 points despite hitting only six of 15 shots. While the Quakers (22-9) found an answer for him in Ibrahim Jaaber, they couldn't answer Texas A&M's inside game.

Jones tied the game at 39 with a thundering dunk at the 11-minute mark, then added another dunk less than a minute later to give the Aggies the lead for good.

For much of the second half, the tournament-tested Ivy League champions gave the Aggies a scare. Although Texas A&M appeared to have a comfortable 32-18 lead at halftime, Penn's shooters - particularly Jaaber - came out of the break on fire.

Penn opened the half with a 21-6 run. Jaaber had a three-point play to tie the game at 37, then made a short jumper to give Penn its first and only lead.

Mark Zoller had 19 points to lead the Quakers, and Jaaber added 16.

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