Aggie Basketball Game #16:
South Carolina (7-8, 0-2 SEC) at Texas A&M (11-4, 2-0 SEC)
Jan. 15, 2014 · 7:00 p.m. (CT)
Reed Arena (12,989)
College Station, Texas
TV: SEC TV (For more info - AggieAthletics.com/TV)
Dave Lamont, Play-by-Play
Joe Dean, Jr., Commentary
Local: CW Aggieland (Suddenlink Ch. 8 or digital 3.2 in College Station/Bryan)
RADIO: Texas A&M Radio Network
Dave South, Play-by-Play
Al Pulliam, Commentary
Local: WTAW-AM 1620 (College Station/Bryan)
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: AggieAthletics.com
LIVE MOBILE LIVE STATS: tamustats.com
TICKETS: Available at the door or online at tickets.12thManFoundation.com
COLLEGE STATION – After an impressive start to its SEC schedule, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team will seek to remain unbeaten in league play Wednesday when it hosts South Carolina in a 7 p.m. contest inside Reed Arena.
Texas A&M (11-4, 2-0) enters the game riding the momentum of two straight SEC wins after it defeated Arkansas at Reed Arena last Wednesday before earning a hard-fought, come-from-behind victory over Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday.
Wednesday’s match-up will be televised on SEC TV with Dave Lamont (play-by-play) and Joe Dean, Jr. (commentary) calling all the action. Fans are encouraged to check www.AggieAThletics.com/TV for a list of stations carrying the game. In the Bryan-College Station region, CW Aggieland (CW8) will carry the game.
Additionally, the game can be heard on the Texas A&M Sports Network with local coverage in the Bryan-College Station area on WTAW (1620 AM).
During its most recent outing on Saturday in Knoxville, Texas A&M trailed the Volunteers by 14 early in the second before hitting the comeback trail. The underdog effort hit its crescendo when the Aggies secured the improbable victory on a game-winning 3-pointer from junior Antwan Space with just 4.4 seconds remaining in the contest.
Junior Jamal Jones showed his offensive prowess during the second half vs. Tennessee by scoring 20 of his career-best 23 points after halftime to spearhead the come-from-behind victory. The Wynne, Ark., native is emerging as one of the most dependable scorers in the SEC and averaging 18.5 points per contest in league play.
Facilitating the offensive attack for the Aggies is sophomore guard Alex Caruso who has racked up 19 assists during the two SEC contests and enters the week leading the league in assists (77) and assists per game (5.1) while also ranking fourth in the conference in steals per game (2.4).
On the defensive end of the court, Texas A&M has proven to be one of the toughest defending teams to opposing offenses this season. The Aggies stand out as just one of 13 teams nationally to allow less than 60 points per game, ranking 12th in the country by allowing just 59.8 points on average. Additionally, the Aggies check in at 11th in the country and top the SEC in field goal percentage defense (.379).
The Gamecocks (7-8), meanwhile, come to Aggieland searching for their first SEC win after dropping contests at Florida and at home to LSU last week. Led by second-year head coach Frank Martin, USC featured a balanced scoring attack with three players averaging double-figure points on the year – Tyrone Johnson (11.9), Sindari Thornwell (11.7) and Brenton Williams (11.1).
• The Aggies made an impression during the first week of SEC play by defeating Arkansas at home last Wednesday before earning a hard-fought, come-from-behind victory at Tennessee on Saturday ... It marked the second straight season that A&M has started league play 2-0.
• On Saturday in Knoxville, Texas A&M trailed by 14 at halftime and again early in the second half before hitting the comeback trail ... The Aggies outscored the Volunteers 39-24 and shot 53.8 percent from the floor during the second half before clinching the win on an Antwan Space 3-pointer with 4.4 seconds left.
• Wednesday's contest vs. South Carolina will be just the second ever between the Aggies and Gamecocks on the hardwood ... Last season, Texas A&M earned a 74-56 victory over USC at Reed Arena ... Graduated A&M senior Elston Turner contributed a game-high 28 points while Fabyon Harris added 12 during the winning effort.
• The Aggies' calling card this season has been their outstanding team defense which leads the SEC in scoring defense (59.8) and field goal percentage defense (.379) ... A&M stands out as one of only 13 teams in the country to yield less than 60 points per contest on average, ranking 12th nationally ... Additionally, the Aggies also check in at 11th nationally in field goal percentage defense.
• Texas A&M has proven to be a good closing team as the Aggies are shooting 64.5 percent during the final five minutes of games this season while holding their opponents to just a 37.5 shooting percentage during that same time frame.
• The Aggies are 10-1 on their home court this season, outscoring their opponents by an average margin of 8.3 points per game inside Reed Arena.
• Dynamic sophomore guard Alex Caruso dished out a career-best 11 assists during the win over the Razorbacks last Wednesday and in the process became the first Aggie to reach double-digits in assists since Acie Law accomplished the feat against Texas on Feb. 5, 2007 ... The College Station native enters the week leading the SEC in assists (77) and assists per game (5.1) ... Additionally, Caruso ranks fourth in the league in steals per game (2.4).
• Junior Jamal Jones has emerged as an offensive force for the Aggies and spearheaded the come-from-behind win at Tennessee Saturday ... The Wynne, Ark., native scored 20 of his career-high 23 points after halftime to help A&M improve to 2-0 in league play ... During his first two SEC games, Jones is averaging 18.5 points per outing.
SERIES HISTORY VS. SOUTH CAROLINA (TEXAS A&M LEADS 1-0)
• Saturday will be the second meeting between the Aggies & Gamecocks on the hardwood.
• USC head coach Frank Martin is no stranger to the Aggies, however, after having faced seven times while the head coach at Kansas State (2007-12) ... Martin is 5-3 all-time vs. Texas A&M.
• Aggie floor general Billy Kennedy is 1-0 against the Gamecocks, facing them for the first time last season.
The Aggies travel to Starkville, Miss., to battle Mississippi State on Saturday in a 12:30 p.m. contest inside Humphrey Coliseum ... The game is slated to be televised on SEC TV.
SPACE’S BIG SHOT LIFTS THE AGGIES OVER THE VOLS
Very little had gone right for the Aggies or sophomore Antwan Space during the first half of Jan. 11th's contest at Tennessee as Space did not see the court during the opening 20 minutes and Texas A&M went into the intermission trailing the Volunteers 32-18.
The Aggies hit the comeback trail during the second half, whittling the UT lead down to single-digits and setting the stage for a dramatic ending with Space playing the lead role. Texas A&M trailed by two points during the waning seconds of the contest when the ball found itself in the hands of Space, who had attempted and made only one shot in the contest. With the outcome hanging in the balance, the DeSoto, Texas, native confidently knocked down a 3-pointer with just 4.4 seconds remaining in the contest which proved to be the game-winner in the Aggie victory.
JONES FINDING HIS GROOVE OFFENSIVELY
Going into this season, Texas A&M coaches knew they would have a major hole to fill on the offensive end with the departure of graduated senior Elston Turner, who garnered first-team All-SEC honors last year. Junior college transfer Jamal Jones figured to be a big part of replacing Turner's offensive production and the Wynne, Ark., native has not disappointed.
After coming off the bench during the season's first eight contests, Jones' name was called when A&M's staff wanted to inject more offense into the starting lineup beginning with Dec. 4th's contest against Houston. The decision paid immediate dividends as Jones responded with 21 points against the Cougars., including seven 3-point baskets to leave him just one shy of the school record for a single game.
During Jan. 11th's contest at Tennessee, Jones was the Aggies' offensive catalyst as he scored 20 of his career-best 23 points during the second half to help A&M erase a 14-point deficit and claim a big road victory.
Jones enters Wednesday's tilt with South Carolina averaging 18.5 points per contest during SEC play. In seven games as a starter this season, Jones is scoring at a 14.1 point-per-game clip.
A year ago, Jones stood out as a one of the top junior college players in the country, averaging 18 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest while helping lead Lee College to the NJCAA Region 14 Championship.
CARUSO JOINS ELITE COMPANY
In just two seasons in Aggieland, dynamic sophomore guard Alex Caruso has developed into one of the most well-rounded players in the Southeastern Conference and during the Aggies' win over Arkansas on Jan. 8 he joined elite company in A&M basketball history.
During the 69-53 victory over the Razorbacks, Caruso set a personal best by dishing out 11 assists and became the first Aggie to reach double-digit assists totals in a game since All-American Acie Law IV tied a school record with 15 helpers vs Texas on Feb. 5, 2007.
Caruso enters the week leading the SEC in both assists (77) and assists per game (5.1) while ranking third in the league steals (36).
REED ARENA SUCCESS
• A&M is 84-19 at Reed Arena since the start of the 2008-09 season with a 29-16 mark in conference games.
• The Aggies are 113-24 (.825) at home since the start of the 2006-07 season and are 146-29 (.834) since the start of the 2004-05 campaign.
• A&M has won 60 of its last 71 home games against unranked opponents (19 of last 24 in conference play).
• A&M is 187-70 (.728) in 15 seasons at Reed Arena ... the Aggies were 41-41 the first six years at Reed and are 146-29 since.
• Texas A&M was 9-1 in non-conference games at Reed Arena this season ... the Aggies are 117-12 (.907) all-time in non-conference games inside the facility, which hosted its first basketball game in the fall of 1998 ... a loss to Rice on Dec. 22, 2011, snapped A&M’s 67-game non-conference home win streak at Reed Arena (which dated back to the start of the 2005-06 season) and 80-game regular-season, non-conference home win streak (which dated back to 2003), both school records.
MOBILE LIVE STATS
Fans can access official live statistics on their mobile devices of all Texas A&M basketball home games and select road games by visiting tamustats.com
PROMOTIONS – JAN. 15 VS. SOUTH CAROLINA
BUNDLE TICKETS TO MEN’S & WOMEN’S HOOPS THIS WEEK TO SAVE
It’s a big week for basketball in Aggieland as the men host South Carolina on Wednesday night before the women’s team takes center stage when it entertains the Gamecocks on Thursday at Reed Arena.
Fans can catch both games and save up to $12 when buying both games at once by contacting the 12th Man Foundation. For more information or to buy tickets visit - http://www.12thmanfoundation.com/ticket-center/promotions/sc-deal.aspx
Prior to the game kids (Sixth grade and younger) can participate in “Kid’s Court” inside the men’s practice gym from 6 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. Kids will have the chance to shoot baskets or participate in poster making, face painting and other activities.
Kids and parents can access “Kid’s Court” by entering the Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball from the arena concourse and following the signage for “Kid’s Court”.
FREE T-SHIRTS FOR THE FIRST 1,000 STUDENTS
The first 1,000 students inside Reed Arena Wednesday night will receive a free t-shirt.
CONCESSION VOUCHER FOR BOOK DONATION
A concession voucher will be given to the first 300 fans who donate a new or gently used “young adult” book as they enter the arena. The books will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club.
SPORTS PASS SPECIAL
Texas A&M students who have an All-Sports pass can bring a fellow student into the game for free. This promotion will run during all January home games.
A&M STUDENTS GET A RIDE TO THE GAME
On basketball game days, the Aggie Hoops bus will run on Route 01 beginning a few hours before tipoff and throughout the game. This route runs by the Quad, close to the dorms on the south side of campus and will drop students off at the corner of Kimbrough by the West Campus Garage, across the street from Reed Arena.
RESERVE YOUR PARKING BEFORE COMING TO REED
Fans driving to the game are encouraged to reserve their parking before they get to campus by purchasing on-line with Texas A&M Transportation Services – Sign up for the Arkansas game - HERE