for this game

Carter powers Texas A&M past Fordham

Dec 13, 2006 - 4:24 AM COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Ticker) -- Texas A&M was happy to return home after a grueling two-game road trip.

Josh Carter scored 15 of his 24 points in the second half to help No. 13 Texas A&M pull away late for an 84-61 victory over pesky Fordham.

After opening the season with seven straight home wins, the Aggies (8-2) were coming off back-to-back road losses at LSU and UCLA, both Final Four squads from a year ago.

Carter managed just 10 points combined in the defeats, taking just nine shots. The 6-7 sophomore was much more involved against Fordham, finishing 8-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

"I was just focusing on being more aggressive," Carter said. "I watched film on the last two games. I wasn't taking shots when I had them."

The Rams (5-4), who play in the Atlantic 10 Conference, figured to provide a welcome respite for the Aggies, but they hung surprisingly tough.

After Texas A&M extended the lead to 53-35 on a 3-pointer from Carter with 13:53 left, Fordham battled back cut the deficit to 10 and trailed by only 72-59 with 3:25 to play.

Carter finally doused their comeback hopes, burying his third 3-pointer of the half and fourth of the game for a 75-59 advantage with 3:02 left, and Texas A&M gradually pulled away.

"When Josh is shooting the ball like that and he's wide open, why not give him the ball," forward Antanas Kavaliauskas said. "We can always trust him to make that shot."

"He's such a good shooter and passer and he's learning how to play and take advantage of a defense no matter how he's being guarded," A&M coach Billy Gillispie said of Carter. "Josh is a very intelligent player."

Kavaliauskas, a 6-10 senior center, added 19 points for the Aggies, who shot 57 percent (30-of-53) from the floor. He finished 9-of-11 and scored 13 points in the opening 20 minutes.

"Antanas is a really good player and I consider him almost a great player," Gillispie said. "He has to have the mentality that he's going to be a dominant player day in and day out."

Joseph Jones scored 13 points and Acie Law IV added 11 as Texas A&M won its 13th straight home game and 30th in a row against visiting non-conference foes.

"They pretty much dominated us on defense," Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg said. "In the second half, we had chances. ... Every time we missed an opportunity, they took advantage of it. That's what top-20 teams do.

"I've been around 24 years and I've seen a lot of teams. This team is very, very good. They could go a long way in the NCAA Tournament."

Sebastian Greene scored 19 points and Bryant Dunston added 14 - all in the second half - for Fordham, which shot 40 percent (18-of-45) and made 20-of-24 from the foul line.

    --- --- -----
    FORDHAM 28 33 61
    TEXAS A&M (13) 39 45 84 FINAL

    Dec 12 11:01 PM

    FORDHAM 28
    TEXAS A&M (13) 39 HALFTIME

    Dec 12 9:53 PM