COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy knows the difference between a struggling team from the Great West Conference and a traditional Southeastern Conference contender.
The Aggies will make that huge step up in competition when they begin SEC play next week, which explains why Kennedy wasn’t thrilled with Texas A&M’s performance in a 67-59 win over Houston Baptist on Thursday night.
Elston Turner scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half and the Aggies (10-3) did not trail after halftime, but the smaller Huskies had a 33-23 edge in rebounds and outscored Texas A&M 16-4 on second-chance points.
Those numbers were troubling to Kennedy with Texas A&M’s playing in its first SEC game in six days, facing Arkansas.
“Obviously we’ve got to get better in a hurry,” Kennedy said. “We haven’t played well in a while. I think we’re playing hard and trying hard, but we’ve got to be more productive. We better ratchet it up quick because Arkansas has got athleticism way better than we’ve seen this year.”
Houston Baptist (4-10) made 48 percent of its shots, well above the Huskies’ season average of 40 percent. However, the Huskies committed 23 turnovers that led to 24 points for the Aggies.
“We just turned the ball over too much,” Houston Baptist head coach Ron Cottrell said. “That was the difference in the game, no doubt. Their guards gave us fits.
“Forty-eight percent is a pretty high number for us given the struggles we’ve had offensively, but when you turn the ball over 23 times, you don’t get enough attempts.”
Senior forward Ray Turner made 7 of 11 shots and scored 14 points for Texas A&M, and Fabyon Harris added 12.
Freshman Caleb Crayton led Houston Baptist with 13 points.
The Huskies pulled within 49-47 on a 3-pointer by Marcel Smith with 6:18 remaining in the game, but Elston Turner answered with a 3-pointer and made two free throws as A&M pulled away.
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