COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Texas A&M earned its first victory over LSU as a fellow Southeastern Conference member after jetting past the Tigers 83-73 on Wednesday night in Reed Arena.
“This feels great, because last year they beat us twice,” said A&M junior forward Kourtney Roberson, who tallied a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Aggies (14-10, 5-6) dominated the Tigers in bench points (33-4) and points in the paint (36-26) in rallying from a 62-50 loss at Georgia on Saturday. A&M, after making 1-of-19 3-pointers against the Bulldogs, rebounded in a big way by sinking 10 of 23 (43 percent) from the 3-point line, including 5 of 10 from junior guard Jamal Jones, who led the Aggies with 19 points..
“Nothing really changed, it’s just that sometimes they fall and sometimes they don’t,” Jamal Jones said of the difference in shooting between the two games. “(As for me), I just have to keep my head right and keep getting in the gym.”
Added a relieved A&M coach Billy Kennedy, “It was good to see the ball go through the net.”
Shavon Coleman paced LSU with a game-high 21 points as the Tigers (15-8, 6-5) lost their fourth consecutive league road game, in coming off an 87-80 home win over Auburn.
“Good teams win on the road, and if we want to be considered a good basketball team, that’s something we have to be able to do,” said LSU coach Johnny Jones, whose squad’s postseason chances earned a considerable dent with yet another setback away from the Maravich Center.
A&M freshman guard Davonte Fitzgerald exited Wednesday’s contest just prior to halftime with a left knee injury. He led all scorers at the time with 11 points, and had made 3-of-4 3-pointers. Fitzgerald entered the game averaging 8.4 points per game off the bench in SEC play. His knee will be further evaluated on Thursday, Kennedy said.
The Tigers played their first game without sophomore guard Malik Morgan, who tore his right patella tendon on Saturday against Auburn and is out for the remainder of the season. Morgan, a defensive specialist, had averaged 15.5 minutes per game.
A handful of NBA scouts were on hand Wednesday to watch LSU junior forward Johnny O’Bryant III, who finished with 15 points (6 of 11 from the field) and six rebounds, along with four fouls. He picked up half of those fouls in the first half, and played only eight minutes prior to the break (and 26 total).
“Early on it was great to see Kourtney Roberson be aggressive,” Kennedy said of the A&M defender charged with handling O’Bryant. “Kourtney set the tone early and he wanted to take the ball right at Johnny O’Bryant. We did a good job of defending him and bothering him.”
While LSU still leads the all-time series 15-12, A&M defeated the Tigers for the first time as an SEC member, following two Aggies losses in 2013, their first go-round in their new league. The new SEC rivals meet again on Feb. 26 in Baton Rouge, La. On Saturday, the Tigers play at Arkansas while the Aggies visit Vanderbilt.
“It’s a tight race,” Kennedy said of the clogged SEC standings. “All of us are battling through different types of adversity — that’s why you see all of these teams jumbled up.”
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