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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)-- Texas A&M forward Kourtney Roberson scored a career-high 24 points as the Aggies eased past Mississippi Valley State 91-67 on Monday night.
The Aggies led 33-16 with 5:43 left in the first half before the Delta Devils outscored A&M 19-9 heading into the locker room. The Delta Devils, who lost 117-62 on Friday at Oklahoma State, at one point narrowed the Aggies' lead to 58-57 with 11:31 remaining.
While the Delta Devils kept the game close for most of the second half, A&M (2-0) led throughout. Forward Jamal Jones drained a 3-pointer with 5:34 remaining to shove the Aggies to a 75-63 lead, and A&M outscored MVSU 16-4 the rest of the way.
Jones and Alex Caruso followed Roberson in the scoring column with 14 points each.
Anthony McDonald led the Delta Devils (0-2) with 21 points, while Darryl Marshall followed with 13.
TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
- Texas A&M improved to 2-0 on the season while Mississippi Valley State fell to 0-2.
- The Aggies now lead the all-time series with the Delta Devils by a count of 3-0 … A&M is 39-2 all-time against the current members of the SWAC.
- The Aggies shot a blistering 60.3 percent (35-of-58) from the floor … it was the first time A&M has shot over 60% since a .654 shooting percentage against Liberty on Nov. 9, 2011.
- On the defensive end, Texas A&M piled up a school record 12 blocked shots on the night … The previous record for blocks was 11 which occurred twice, most recently against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 21, 1997.
- A&M owned a 41-31 advantage in the rebounding column and dominated in the paint where it outscored the Delta Devils 56-20.
- Texas A&M used the starting line-up combination of Alex Caruso, Jordan Green, Kourtney Roberson, Antwan Space and Shawn Smith for the second time this season.
- The Aggies held a 42-35 lead at halftime.
- After MVSU pulled to within one point at 58-57 with 11:31 remaining in the second half, the Aggies pulled away by outscoring the Delta Devils 33-10 to end the game.
- Junior forward Kourtney Roberson continued his strong start to the season, scoring 24 points to set his personal best in scoring for the second straight game … The Arcadia, La., native also added a game-high 10 rebounds to notch his fourth career double-double and second in as many games to start the 2013-14 season.
- Sophomore Alex Caruso and junior Jamal Jones joined Roberson in double-digit scoring, each contributing 14 points … 11 of Jones’ points came after halftime.
- Caruso also dished out five assists to go along with two steals and a personal-best three blocks.
- A&M head coach Billy Kennedy is now 34-33 in his third season at Texas A&M and 245-212 in 16 years as a head coach.
- The Aggies continue their homestand to start the season by hosting Rice at Reed Arena on Friday night … the game will be televised by FSN and is slated to tip-off at 8 p.m.
- Mississippi Valley State, meanwhile, will face Champions Baptist on Friday.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
“I thought we started the game with a lot of confidence and ball movement, then I thought we got comfortable. We got too loose defensively and offensively things were so easy for us at the beginning that we just got comfortable. You’ve got to respect your opponent a little bit better than we did in this game.”
On Kourtney Roberson:
“Kourtney does some good things for us, we need to have him on the court. It’s just conditioning-wise, he gets winded really quickly. He’s aggressive around the basket, defensively he rotates. I didn’t realize he had 24 points until I looked at it. It’s good to have him on the floor. He played 25 minutes tonight, so that’s a little bit longer than last game, so that was good for him.”
On the second-half run to secure the win:
“I was glad we didn’t let up. We continued to play with some energy and finished strong. I like our togetherness. We can grow in a lot of ways. When we were up by only a few points, I told our guys ‘This is a great game for us.’ We have to learn to handle some adversity, we have to grow from this situation and stick together, which they did, so that was a positive side for us. But we have to play a hell of a lot better if we’re going to beat some of the teams ahead of us. With all of that being said, we’ve got to play better and continue to get better.”
On recording 12 blocks as a team:
“Playing against five guards, we were just bigger than them at every position. We were getting beat off the dribble so we had to rotate and make a play. When you have to block 12 shots it means they got to the basket too many times.”
TEXAS A&M SOPHOMORE GUARD ALEX CARUSO
On losing focus:
“We talked at halftime about how we dropped our intensity halfway through the first half and how we needed to get it back up. It took us another five to ten minutes to get it back to where it was and we finally pulled away and won by 24 points. That’s just a lack of focus on our part and we will take care of that. We are better than that and I don’t think we will see that again.”
On getting to the basket:
“We’ve worked a lot this year on crease action, which is dribble-drive, dribble-penetrate. We like to do that towards the end of the shot clock. If nobody stops you after you get by your man, it’s your job to finish or get fouled. I think we did a good job of that tonight. They didn’t help as much after we knocked a few shots down, so that also opened up some of the lanes and we just took advantage when we could.”
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE HEAD COACH CHICO POTTS
“We played a Texas A&M team that has been good thus far. I thought they came out aggressive early. That is one of the biggest pluses for transition offenses. They hit us in the mouth early. I had to get a timeout there early in the game as well. I had to give my guys composure. We needed to focus on getting back into transition defense, then playing great half-court defense. Midway through that first half, I thought we did a very good job of getting back in transition and forcing the play on the offensive end. That allowed us to get back in the game and cut the lead to seven points right before the half. We came out and it was nip-tuck there for a while. We got it to one or two points and had a few foul troubles. That allowed them to get the lead back up to nine, then 11. I told my guys during the timeout at the seven-minute mark that if we needed to get the lead to four or five right before the last media timeout. Going into that last timeout, they were ahead by about 12 points. They got back out in transition and it ended up being a 24-point game.”