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COLLEGE STATION (AP) — Texas A&M had trouble getting its offense going in the first half against Missouri on Saturday.
Jalen Jones made sure the Aggies got over those problems after halftime.
Jones scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half to lead No. 10 Texas A&M to a 66-53 victory over Missouri, extending the Aggies’ winning streak to 10 games.
Missouri (8-11, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) led by two points when Jones scored eight straight points to give A&M (17-2, 7-0) a 44-38 lead with about 13 minutes left. Jones started that stretch with his second three-point play of the half and capped it with a 3-pointer. The Tigers missed six straight shots and went 5 minutes without scoring as the Aggies built the lead.
Ryan Rosburg finally broke Missouri’s scoring drought with a dunk with just under 10 minutes left, but Jones made his third three-point play of the half to start a 10-0 run that made it 54-40 with less than 7 minutes remaining and the Tigers didn’t threaten again.
“We just had to settle down,” Jones said. “Coach said there would be games like this where you kind of start off sluggish. We’re a veteran ball club and we just knew that we had to settle down, execute the coach’s game plan and let the game come to us and that’s what we did in the second half.”
The Tigers stuck to a zone defense for most of the game and Jones was able to work around that in the second half.
“We got a little bit, I don’t want to say lazy, but careless in the middle of the zone and they did a good job of finding the hole,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said.
Wes Clark had 12 points for Missouri, which dropped its fourth straight.
Texas A&M’s winning streak is its longest since it won 13 straight from Nov. 26, 2010 to Jan. 15, 2011, and its 7-0 start in the SEC is its best conference start since it also started 7-0 in 1993-94 to begin Southwest Conference play.
Jones struggled in the first half, missing all three of his field goal attempts, and making three free throws. He had no such trouble in the second half when he scored almost half of A&M’s points to fuel the victory.
“He finishes at the rim,” Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “He took it to the basket hard. He’s so quick and attacks the basket. I can’t say enough about him. He’s playing really well right now.”
The Tigers couldn’t find a rhythm offensively in the second half and went more than 3 1/2 minutes without scoring after the dunk by Rosburg that ended an even longer stretch without scoring.
Danuel House added 17 points and a career-high seven assists for A&M, which hasn’t lost since Dec. 5.
Missouri scored the first eight points of the second half to take a 33-29 lead with 17 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Aggies finally got on the board in the second half with a three-point play by Jones soon after and a jump shot that House made under heavy pressure just before the shot clock expired cut the lead to 35-34 about a minute later.
Namon Wright hit a jump shot near the end of the first half to cut A&M’s lead to 29-25 at halftime.
Missouri: Rosburg, who had 10 points, fouled out with about 4 1/2 minutes left. … Puryear finished with 11 points and six rebounds. … The Tigers made just 3 of 19 3-point attempts.
Texas A&M: Alex Caruso had five assists and four rebounds. … A&M’s bench outscored Missouri’s 21-5. … Tavario Miller had 10 rebounds.
MISSING THE BIG GUY
Texas A&M freshman center Tyler Davis missed the game with a left foot injury. Kennedy said the Aggies missed the presence of Davis, who has started 16 games this season and is averaging 11.2 points and 5.8 rebounds.
“Any time you’ve got somebody that’s 6-10, 270 that’s got hands like he has and is a force, you miss him,” Kennedy said, adding the injury isn’t serious and that they hope to have him back “real quick.”
WATCHING FROM AFAR
Former Texas A&M star Khris Middleton, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, has kept an eye on the Aggies this season and is proud to see their return to prominence. Middleton played at Texas A&M from 2009-12 and was part of A&M’s last NCAA tournament team in 2011.
“It’s definitely exciting,” he said. “You always want to see your college do great, so to see that they’re in the Top 10 and winning all these games is great.”
Missouri: Visits No. 23 Kentucky on Wednesday.
Texas A&M: Visits Arkansas on Wednesday.
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