No. 13 Texas A&M will seek improvement on the offensive end when its hosts Oral Roberts on Friday in College Station, Texas.
Defense has not been a problem for the Aggies (3-0), who head home after a gritty 79-66 win at SMU on Tuesday. Tyrece Radford led Texas A&M with 21 points while Wade Taylor IV had 15 points, Henry Coleman III added 13 points and 15 rebounds and Jace Carter added 10 points.
The Aggies won the game in the paint, outscoring SMU 28-22 at close range and forcing 16 turnovers that A&M converted into 20 points. Texas A&M escaped Dallas despite shooting just 37.3 percent from the floor and going 7-of-25 from beyond the arc (28 percent). Taylor was a major culprit in those troubles, going 4-of-17 from the field and 0-of-7 on threes.
“We say before every game that we’re going to have each other’s back,” Coleman said. “Whether Wade has 30 points or Wade has 15 points, we know we have each other’s back.”
Texas A&M was up by just 54-50 with 8:58 to play before creating some separation with an 11-2 run, featuring a 3-pointer from Carter. That gave the Aggies more than enough to get them to the finish line.
Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said he’s been encouraged by his team’s growth over the first three games and at practice.
“The competitive charisma and synergy the last two games has been tremendous,” Williams said after Tuesday’s win. “There is a lot of growth that’s happening when they’re with us, but there is a lot of trust that’s being built when they’re not with us. You can see it. You can feel it. You can hear it.”
Taylor paces the Aggies with 17.3 points, 5.0 assists and 3.3 steals per game. Coleman is averaging 11.3 points and a team-leading 11.4 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles (1-2) travel to College Station after an 84-69 loss at Missouri State on Monday. Issac McBride led Oral Roberts with 27 points, with DeShang Weaver adding 11 and Jalen Miller hitting for 10 in his first start for the Golden Eagles.
Oral Roberts, under new coach Russell Springmann, had to replace its leading scorer from last season (Max Abmas) and was picked in the preseason to finish second in the Summit League. McBride (the leading returning scorer at 11.8 points per game) was a first-team preseason all-conference pick, while Kareem Thompson was voted to the second team.
The Golden Eagles have two true freshmen and six transfers as newcomers this season. Oral Roberts won both the regular season and postseason Summit League tournament titles last year for the first time since the 2007-08 season before losing to Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“The goal is again to advance (in) an NCAA tournament,” Springmann said when he was hired. “It is to win championships. But more importantly, it is to advance young people in their lives.”
Texas A&M leads 8-4 in the all-time series. The matchup hasn’t been played since 2007.
–Field Level Media
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