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COLLEGE STATION (AP)--J-Mychal Reese returned to the lineup following a suspension and scored five points and four rebounds off the bench in Texas A&M's 79-62 victory over Sam Houston State Sunday.
Antwan Space led the Aggies (5-0) with 12 points and Fabyon Harris added 10.
A&M led 6-5 five minutes into the game, but surged on a 12-4 run and was never threatened the remainder of the contest. The Aggies are 5-0 for the first time since 2007-08. Kaheem Ransom scored a game-high 13 points, but was only 4 of 14 from the field, in leading SHSU (4-1).
A&M held a 41-29 rebounding advantage over the smaller Bearkats, and outscored SHSU 40-30 in the paint.
TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
● The 79-62 victory over Sam Houston State on Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena saw Texas A&M improve its record on the year to 5-0 … It marked the first time A&M has started a season with five straight wins since the 2007-08 campaign.
● The Aggies lead the all-time series with the Bearkats by a margin of 67-17 and have won the last 18 meeting in the series.
● Texas A&M improved to 113-11 (.911) all-time in non-conference games inside Reed Arena.
● As a team the Aggies shot 57.1 percent (28-of-49) from the floor against the Bearkats, marking the third time in five games this season that A&M has shot better that 50 percent.
● Texas A&M owned a 41-29 advantage in the rebounding column, its best margin on the boards this season.
● SHSU was held to season-low 62 points; its previous low-water mark on the scoreboard was 77 points in a win over Texas-Pan American on Nov. 8 as the Bearkats came into the game averaging 99.8 points per contest.
● The Aggies used an 11-2 run just before the end of the first half to open a double-digit lead at 34-21.
● Texas A&M owned a 34-25 advantage at the intermission.
● A&M outscored SHSU 24-7 during the first seven minutes of the second half to build a 26-point lead at 58-32 … The Aggies’ advantage swelled to as many as 31 with 5:35 to play.
● Texas A&M used the starting line-up combination of Alex Caruso, Jordan Green, Kourtney Roberson, Antwan Space and Shawn Smith for the fifth time this season.
● 11 different Aggies scored during the win, with 35 of the team’s 79 points coming from non-starters.
● Sophomore forward Antwan Space led the Aggies in scoring for the first time during his A&M career, finishing with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting … Additionally, the DeSoto, Texas, native came just short of his first career double-double by pulling down nine rebounds.
● Senior guard Fabyon Harris also reached double-digits points with 10 on perfect 2-of-2 shooting from 3-point range and 4-of-4 mark from the free throw line.
● Sophomore guard J-Mychal Reese made his season debut in the contest and contributed five points, four rebounds and two assists.
● A&M head coach Billy Kennedy is now 37-33 in his third season at Texas A&M and 248-212 in 16 years as a head coach.
● The Aggies are back in action on their home court Tuesday evening when they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff … the game will be televised by FSN and is slated to tip-off at 7 p.m.
● Sam Houston State, meanwhile, will travel to Dallas to face SMU on Tuesday.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
“I was really happy with our defense. Both our first and second groups had a defensive effort that was really good. I have a lot of respect for Sam Houston State, they have a good team and a good program. For us to guard them like we did the first 25 minutes was pretty good because they had been scoring something like 99 points a game. I was proud of our effort on the defensive end. I thought we got better today.”
“I wanted to see consistency on the defensive end and the offensive end. Fabyon Harris came in and did a really good job off the bench. I just wanted to see some consistency on both ends and that when we subbed, there wouldn’t be a big drop-off. I don’t think we had a big drop-off tonight, especially early on until the last four or five minutes of the game.”
On return of J-Mychal Reese:
“It’s good to have another ball-handler who has experience. It’s going to take him a little bit of time to get adjusted because he hasn’t played in a competition all season, but it’s nice to have another guard. Alex picked up two fouls in the first half. It was great to have another guard that we can put on the floor.”
On balance in team performance:
“That’s our team. I thought Shawn Smith did some great things for us the first eight minutes of the game. Alex did some great things also during the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half. Jordan Green gave us some good minutes. I thought we had good balance all the way through. We’ve got some guys who can play a lot better. Kourtney played 15 minutes. It was good to play Dylan Johns and to give Tavario Miller some minutes.”
On increased focus on driving the ball:
“We want to drive the ball. With the new rules and the way our team is designed with our talent level, what we do best is get it in the paint. From Alex Caruso to Shawn Smith and Jordan Green, they were all good in the paint. Jamal Jones showed some glimpses that he can make some plays off the bounce. That’s how we want to play. Fabyon making a couple of 3’s in the first half was good for us. He’s a guy who has proven he can shoot a high percentage at this level.”
TEXAS A&M SOPHOMORE FORWARD ANTWAN SPACE
On the defensive performance:
“They talked to us about that a lot. That was a lot of motivation for our defense tonight. We knew that they [Sam Houston] had been scoring one hundred points a game or something like that. We made it our goal to stop them by any means necessary.”
On the balance of scoring on the team:
“We have so many weapons. We have Fabyon [Harris] as a shooter. We have finishers. Everyone plays his role. It’s pretty much a balance. We don’t have a team like last year where we had just one main scorer that we look for at all times. We all can score. It makes it easier for everybody.”
TEXAS A&M SENIOR GUARD FABYON HARRIS
On the way A&M came out to start the second half:
“We were in the locker room and we players had a talk before the coaches came in and said that we have to really come out the first five minutes and turn it up on defense. We have open shots; we take them. We have back door cuts, let the post hit us and make some shots. When we had our little guards and post meeting and team meeting without the coaches, we just said turn it up.”
On hitting 3’s early in the game:
“It was very nice. I haven’t been having much confidence taking them. I hit two of them and then just my shot was feeling good after that.”
On having J-Mychal Reese back:
“It just makes us that much better guard-wise. Having everyone together again, it just feels good to have him back. I was very excited.”
SAM HOUSTON STATE HEAD COACH JASON HOOTEN
“First of all, I saw all of Texas A&M’s games this season on tape and I thought tonight was their best game yet, but I expected that. I know Coach Kennedy well and I think he has respect for me as I do for him. Therefore, I knew he would have his team ready to play tonight against us. We had gotten off to a good start in the season. I knew the competition we had played, although really good road wins, would not be as stout as tonight. I’m just disappointed in the way we played. We didn’t do anything that we really wanted to do. Maybe early in the year it is a good learning experience for our guys. I thought we had two really poor days of practice and I’ve still got some guys that are new and don’t quite understand this level as far as making this a job, coming in every day and punching the clock. We will get there and we will get those guys where they need to be. Before it is all said and done, we will have a really good basketball team.”