COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Texas A&M used its biggest rival in the Southeastern Conference, LSU, to finally clear a league stumbling block.
“We were definitely the better team, so we just had to go out and play like it,” A&M guard D.J. Hogg said.
The Aggies did, as Admon Gilder and Tonny Trocha-Morelos each scored 14 points and A&M won its first SEC contest 92-62 over the Tigers on Wednesday night.
Texas A&M (9-6, 1-3) jumped on LSU (9-6, 1-3) from the start, leading 13-3 after a little more than five minutes. Robert Williams and Chris Collins each added 12 points for A&M, and LSU’s Antonio Blakeney scored a game-high 17 points, the only Tiger to reach double digits.
“It’s good to see them having fun,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said of his relieved players. “Playing on the road (recently) against some really good opponents — we kind of played back on our heels a little bit. I’m glad we were the aggressors.”
Texas A&M had lost at Kentucky by 42 points and at South Carolina by 11 in its two most recent games, after starting SEC play with a home loss to Tennessee.
The Aggies held a lopsided 11-0 edge in blocks against LSU, with Williams leading the way with four and Trocha-Morelos and Hogg chipping in three each. The Aggies also held a 46-36 advantage on points in the paint.
“Their record wasn’t indicative of the type of team that they are, sitting at 0-3 in the league,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said of the Aggies. “They played as a team that was seeking and searching for an opportunity to win. We’re searching as well, and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Aggies knew it would be their night when Trocha-Morelos smoothly tossed a behind-the-back pass to Tavario Miller for a wide-open dunk, giving the Aggies a 21-5 lead with 11:31 left in the first half. Texas A&M has won its last two games against the Tigers by a combined 63 points, following a 71-38 Aggies victory in the SEC tournament last March in Nashville, Tenn.
“0-3 was a tough start, so to finally get one under our belts the way we did, and the joy we had together doing it, was amazing,” Hogg said. “We didn’t really have fun when we were losing.”
LSU: The Tigers own the same conference mark as the Aggies (1-3) but appear to be careening in the opposite direction following a second consecutive lopsided loss in league play. Mississippi State won by 17 last Saturday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. LSU coach Johnny Jones entered the season on the hot seat, and that seat has only grown hotter with the turn of the new year.
Texas A&M: The Aggies are trying to make the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season and took a small step toward that goal against the Tigers. As A&M guard D.J. Hogg reminded, there are still 14 league games to go even following the Aggies’ poor start in conference.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Texas A&M had 15 turnovers, three more than coach Billy Kennedy likes in any given game but a big step in the right direction following the last two games. The Aggies had committed 50 turnovers in their last two contests (25 each in losses at Kentucky and South Carolina), so 15 appeared clean comparatively speaking.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Texas A&M freshman forward Robert Williams, who’s quickly developed into an NBA prospect, grew up in Vivian, Louisiana. He had 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks against his home state’s most prominent program. LSU coach Johnny Jones said he recruited Williams hard, but couldn’t convince him to play in Baton Rouge.
HE SAID IT
“He was excited. And I’m always excited, too, playing a school you grew up seeing your whole life.”
A&M coach and New Orleans native Billy Kennedy, reminding reporters that Robert Williams isn’t the only Aggie from Louisiana.
LSU: The Tigers will try to win their first home game in league competition on Saturday against Alabama.
Texas A&M: The Aggies will try to win their first road game in league competition on Saturday at Mississippi State.
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