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COLLEGE STATION--Despite a rough night of shooting from long range, Texas A&M eased past Prairie View A&M 75-65 on Tuesday night before 4,194 fans in Reed Arena.
The Aggies, led by sophomore guard Alex Caruso's career-high six steals, only made 2 of 13 (15.4 percent) from the 3-point line, and both makes came in the final four minutes. By comparison, the Panthers looked like sharpshooters by making 9 of 23 (39.1 percent) from long range. A&M, leading by 21 (54-33) with 11:43 remaining, appeared to be cruising to a victory when Prairie View (1-3) charged back by slicing the Aggies' lead to 56-51 with 6:10 left.
The Aggies mustered a final rally, however, in outscoring the Panthers 19-14 down the stretch to earn their fourth victory in four tries early this season.
TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
- The 75-65 victory over Prairie View A&M on Tuesday night at Reed Arena saw Texas A&M improve its record on the year to 4-0 … It marked the first time A&M has started a season with a perfect 4-0 mark since the 2009-10 campaign.
- The Aggies lead the all-time series with the Panthers by a margin of 12-0.
- Texas A&M improved to 112-11 (.911) all-time in non-conference games inside Reed Arena.
- As a team the Aggies shot 51.1 percent (23-of-45) from the floor against the Panthers, marking the second time this season that A&M has shot better that 50 percent in game (60.3 percent vs. Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 11).
- Texas A&M owned a 36-26 advantage in points in the paint as the Aggies were aggressive driving to the rim … as a team, A&M went to the free throw line 38 times (28-of-38 for 71.1%).
- The Aggies also notched a season-best 11 steals to go along with seven blocked shots.
- A&M took command of the game in the first half with a 15-0 run that left the score 24-11 with 8:59 to play before intermission.
- The Aggies owned a 40-26 lead at halftime.
- Texas A&M used the starting line-up combination of Alex Caruso, Jordan Green, Kourtney Roberson, Antwan Space and Shawn Smith for the fourth time this season.
- Sophomore guard Alex Caruso finished the contest with a career-best in both points (15) and steals (6) while dishing out four assists.
- RS freshman guard Shawn Smith collected a majority of his 12 points from the charity stripe where he went 8-for-11 … the Jacksonville, Fla., native also pulled down a personal-best eight boards.
- Sophomore forward Antwan Space and junior guard Jamal Jones also finished the game with double-digit scoring, contributing 12 points apiece.
- A&M head coach Billy Kennedy is now 36-33 in his third season at Texas A&M and 247-212 in 16 years as a head coach.
- The Aggies are back in action on their home court Sunday afternoon when they host Sam Houston State at Reed Arena … the game will be televised by FSN and is slated to tip-off at 4 p.m.
- Prairie View A&M, meanwhile, will travel to Fort Collins, Colo., to take on Colorado State on Monday.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
“I thought we played 25-30 minutes of good basketball tonight. There were some moments where we had a lack of discipline with some bad passes and bad turnovers that led to transition baskets. Prairie View A&M then got a little confidence and started throwing in some three’s. We’ve got to give Prairie View A&M some credit, they never did quit.”
On the team’s outside shooting struggles:
“It will not be the strength of our team but we are better shooters than what we are doing right now. I thought we did a good job driving the ball. We shot 38 free throws so we’re not just jacking-up 3’s, but we had some wide-open looks and we have to make those shots. I do think we are capable of doing it.”
Prairie View’s second half run:
“We gave them the ball and they scored in transition. We were up 18 and gave them the ball at least 2-3 possessions in a row and they were right back in it. I thought Alex, Jordan and Space just made a few mistakes that cannot be made.”
On multiple players running the point:
“Alex has been really good for us at the point. Fabyon has not had a lot of practice (this week) and today was the first day he was really cleared to do anything. Because he is a senior and experienced, I thought he did a really good job for the most part coming in.”
On the Aggies’ turnovers in the game:
“We haven’t turned the ball over that much in the last three games; we averaged 10-11 turnovers. Tonight Prairie View A&M pressed and played zone for most of the game and they did a good job turning us over. We had some guys make some bonehead plays. It was just a fluke situation I think.”
TEXAS A&M SOPHOMORE FORWARD ANTWAN SPACE
On the team’s performance:
“I’m happy with a win but we could have played better defensively and offensively. Getting to the free-throw line was part of the game plan. It was in our report to get straight to the line and attack, attack, attack.”
PRAIRIE VIEW A&M HEAD COACH BYRON RIMM II
“We are a better basketball team than what we showed tonight and I think this is the worst game we have played this year. We were behind and came out sluggish. Our captains came out very sluggish and that’s how the team responded. We can’t play from behind and we can’t play sluggish when we’re on the road. I commend our guys for how they played. We probably played about 18 minutes of basketball tonight.”