No. 13 Texas A&M rides an audacious start to the season and plenty of momentum when it travels north to square off against former conference rival SMU on Tuesday in a battle of unbeaten teams in Dallas.
The Aggies (2-0) hit the road again after a gritty 73-66 win at Ohio State on Friday. The win came after seven ties and 19 lead changes, with Texas A&M going in front for good on a bucket from Wade Taylor IV with 7:16 to play.
Taylor and Tyrece Radford scored 21 points apiece to lead the Aggies in the win, with Henry Coleman III adding 20 points and 11 rebounds to produce his 11th career double-double.
The trio combined to score 85 percent of the team’s 73 points.
Andersson Garcia’s 13 rebounds led all players and highlighted a 45-35 A&M advantage on the glass and a 19-9 edge in second-chance points.
“Rebounding, both offensively and defensively, is a key for us and (against Ohio State) winning those battled kept the needle pointing toward us the whole game,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “That makes it a lower possession game, but that’s okay with us as long as we control the glass.”
The Aggies shot just 42.9 percent from the floor for the game; Taylor missed nine of his first 10 shots before heating up after halftime. But A&M also only had six turnovers in the contest, three in each half.
Williams said that his team was in a “late-February mentality” over the final six minutes.
“The way we practiced before this game is the way we played — and it doesn’t always happen that way,” Williams added. “Playing great defense takes away part of the opponent’s playbook, and that’s what we were able to do.”
The Mustangs (3-0) will play their fourth game in nine days, with the most recent contest a 78-67 win over Lamar on Thursday in the second of a home back-to-back. Chuck Harris led the Mustangs with 18 points while Tyreek Smith scored 13 (tying his career high) and Emory Lanier finished with 11 in the win.
“I’m proud of these guys because I’m exhausted,” SMU coach Rob Lanier said. “And it’s one thing to be in a conference tournament with teams that you’re familiar with, and you’re there. It’s a different time of year. I’m proud of these guys that they had the toughness to play as hard as they did tonight after playing so hard on Wednesday.”
SMU was able to rely on its defense to overcome poor shooting from the floor and the fatigue of two games in two nights. The Mustangs outscored Lamar 31-19 in the first half and finished with a 47-35 edge on the glass as Keon Ambrose-Hylton took a career-high 10 rebounds.
“Offensive rebounding is going to be an attribute of this team and the requires a certain level of toughness,” Lanier said. “That’s something that we can improve but it takes effort to do that and we were making the effort in that particular area.”
The programs have played 179 times, with SMU owning a 91-88 edge in the all-time series. Texas A&M has won seven of the last 10 meetings including an 83-64 victory last year in College Station.
–Field Level Media
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