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Men’s Hoops Slams Home Sixth Straight SEC Win

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Jalen Jones scored 15 points, Alex Caruso added 14 points with 10 assists, and Texas A&M extended its winning streak to six games with a 69-58 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.

It’s the first time the Aggies have won six consecutive conference contests since 2009 when they were in the Big 12.

Texas A&M (15-5, 6-2) led from start to finish and maintained a double-digit lead for most of the game. But an 11-3 run by the Commodores got them within 59-52 with about seven minutes left. That run was powered by three 3-pointers, capped by Luke Kornet’s 3 from the corner under heavy pressure.

A&M scored three quick points to end the run and push the lead back to 10 and hold on for the victory

Wade Baldwin’s 12 points led Vanderbilt (11-10, 1-7), which has dropped seven in a row.

The Aggies got a big game from their reserves, with their bench outscoring Vanderbilt’s 25-14, led by 13 points from Danuel House.

Vanderbilt trailed by 16 at halftime before opening the second half with an 8-1 run to get within 40-31. Alex Caruso gave A&M its first field goal of the second half with a 3-pointer after that to start a 12-6 run that extended the lead to 52-37 with about 12 minutes left.

A highlight of the game came when House was fouled on a 3-pointer, but made it anyway and added the free throw to push A&M’s advantage to 56-41 with 10 minutes remaining.

Kourtney Roberson led the Aggies with 11 rebounds and Caruso had eight, to finish just two rebounds shy of a triple double. He also topped the team with four steals.

The Aggies jumped out to a 13-0 lead punctuated by a dunk by Jordan Green. The Commodores missed their first eight shots, including five layups, and had three turnovers to help A&M build the early lead.

Vanderbilt finally got on the board on a dunk by James Siakam with less than 15 minutes remaining in the first half.

Matthew Fisher-Davis followed that shot with a 3-pointer, but A&M then used a 9-2 run to extend the lead to 22-7 midway through the first half.

Texas A&M was up by 16 points later in the half when the Commodores used a 10-3 spurt to cut the lead to 31-22 with two minutes left in the half. Damian Jones led the way with five points, including two dunk, in that stretch.

The Aggies got going again after that, closing the half with an 8-1 run to lead 39-23 at halftime.


 

Billy Kennedy

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Jordan Green, Kourtney Roberson, Alex Caruso

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Kevin Stallings

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TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES

● Texas A&M ran its winning streak to six games on Saturday afternoon inside Reed Arena by defeating Vanderbilt 69-58 … the streak matches the Aggies’ longest in league play since a similar six-game run against Big 12 competition from Feb. 16 to March 7, 2011.

● The Aggies are now 10-1 at Reed Arena this season.

● The victory was Texas A&M’s first ever over the Commodores, who now lead the all-time series with A&M 4-1.

TEAM NOTES

● The Aggies did not trail in the contest, beginning the game on a 13-0 run to mark the second consecutive game in which they have never been behind on the scoreboard at any point… Texas A&M has not trailed a game since tying the score at 11-11 with 13:22 to play in the first half of Jan. 24th contest at Tennessee, a total of 113:22.

● A balanced scoring attack highlighted the Aggies’ post-game stat sheet as A&M posted its sixth game this season featuring four or more players with double-digit points (Jones-15, House-13, Caruso-12, Green-10).

● The Aggies once again displayed great ball movement as they were credited with 19 assists on 25 made baskets.

● Texas A&M shot 53.2 percent for the game (25-for-47), marking the seventh game this season the team has shot 50 percent or better in a game.

● The crowd of 12,722 was the largest of the Billy Kennedy era and the biggest since drawing 13,300 against Texas on Jan. 31, 2011.

● The Aggies used the starting line-up combination of Alex Caruso, Jordan Green, Danuel House, Jalen Jones and Kourtney Roberson for the 12th time this season (10-2).

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

● Junior guard Alex Caruso notched his first career double-double and came close to producing the first triple-double by an Aggie since Bernard King in 2002 … The third-year Aggie finished with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting with 10 assists and eight rebounds … he also added four steals in 34 minutes.

● Caruso’s double-digit assist showing was his sixth career game with 10 or more helpers.

● Junior forward Jalen Jones continued his consistent play and reached double-digits points for the 15th time in 18 games played this season, finishing with 15.

● Junior guard Danuel House came off the A&M bench to contribute 13 points.

● Seniors Jordan Green and Kourtney Roberson also played significant roles in the win with Green notching 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and Roberson pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds.

● On the defensive end, Roberson spearheaded an A&M defensive charge that limited the Commodores’ leading scorer, Damian Jones, to just seven points on 2-of-11 shooting …  Jones began the day averaging 15.6 points per outing.

● A&M head coach Billy Kennedy is now 65-54 in his fourth season at Texas A&M and 276-233 in 17 years as a head coach.

UP NEXT

● The Aggies are back on the road next week as they travel to Oxford, Miss., to face Ole Miss in the first half of back-to-back road contests … the match-up with the Rebels will be nationally televised by the SEC Network.


TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY

Opening Statement…

“Really, I thought the first half we played about as well as we could play in a lot of areas. Offensively, we shared the ball. Defensively, they only scored nine or 12 points in the first 14 minutes of the game. Fortunately, we played that well and gave ourselves a cushion because I thought Vandy did a good job coming back in the beginning of the second half, while we got a little complacent with the ball and gave them some easy lay ups to get their confidence going.”

On keeping Vandy leading scorer Damian Jones in check…

“I thought Kourtney did a really good job on him. Frustrated him in the first half and we dug in at the post. We forced the turnovers. Forced some bad shots that he took, because he’s really a good player I’ve got a lot of respect for what he can do.”

On earning 2nd place in the conference…

“Like I told my guys, obviously, we’re thankful but I mean we’ve got a lot of games left. There’s no need to celebrate where we’re at in the standings. We need to celebrate the win, get past it and get better tomorrow. We’ve just got to continue to get better. There are a lot of areas we can get better. We got outscored in the second half, but those are the things that I see, you know three point shooting, just little things. Too many turnovers, 16 turnovers, it’s just too many, but we got better as a team. Davonte Fitzgerald stayed ready. We’ve got some guys that keep their head in what they’re doing like Tonny and Davonte. They came off the bench and gave us some really good minutes. I think that’s one of the biggest advantages we have over some of the other teams we’re playing, we’re deeper and we’re older.”

 

On the energy at the start of game…

“The energy, the buzz, you know we’re winning games. We had a great crowd. Our guys appreciate that. We value the people who come to our games. Our guys have played in games where we didn’t have great crowds, so we’ve got to know the group is embracing this opportunity. If we can continue to get better, there will be more great crowds. I’m just thinking our guys are hungry, they’re thankful, and I want to keep it that way.”

TEXAS A&M SENIOR KOURTNEY ROBERSON

On reaching second place…

“It feels great. We haven’t been in second place since my first year. We’ve been going hard since the beginning of the year, and it’s showing.”

 

 

TEXAS A&M JUNIOR ALEX CARUSO

On nearly clenching a triple-double…

“I didn’t think I was that close to be honest. I was just playing hard. The ball fell my way a couple times. I was just out there playing hard. You realize when you’re playing that you have a bunch of points and rebounds and assists, but you never really know how many it is. I just continued to play my hardest.”

On beating a team they’re supposed to beat…

“We expect to win every game, regardless of who it is coming into our place. But it is good to take care of the wins you’re ‘supposed’ to win according to the media, coaches and other people. We talked about the most important game is whichever one is next. We took care of business and now we’re on to the next one.”

On the largest home crowd in his career…

“It’s really big. We got off to a fast start because we had energy. We had people yelling us on. It’s just that little spark you need to get that little extra effort. It’s great to see everybody coming out and supporting us, and I hope they’ll be back. We’ll continue to play hard for them.”

 

 

TEXAS A&M SENIOR JORDAN GREEN

On the importance of the fast start…

“We’ve had lows in the beginning of the last couple games. We wanted to start out and make sure we establish our presence on defense first. That’s how we got on the fast start. We knew they were a really good shooting team. We just wanted to make sure the pressure was on in the first five minutes of the game.”

On rising to second place…

“This year we’re closer than ever. That’s a testament to Coach Kennedy. The last four years he’s been the same coach. He hasn’t changed, and he’s pushed us. We just have good guys. Testaments to our hard work in the summer and our practices. I just want to give up to all our teammates. It’s been awesome.”

VANDERBILT HEAD COACH KEVIN STALLINGS

Opening Statement…

“Well, this was a disappointing performance for us really from start to finish. I thought A&M dictated the entire game, how the game was played, the flow of it, the physicality of it and drove us when they wanted to, made shots, so just not a good enough performance by our team to be a little more competitive than we felt we might be.”

On Alex Caruso…

“He’s a good player, and you know he’s deceptively good on the defensive end. He gets his hands on a lot of balls and leads things, and picks up things so he kind of had his way with us, and so did Roberson. Roberson, he started dictating how the game was going to be played inside.”

On picking up in second half…

“I don’t know we probably blocked a few more shots, were a little more active at the goal maybe, but I’m not sure we did anything. I’m not sure that they didn’t just get bored.”

On A&M’s performance…

“It felt like in the first half, I never thought it to be very hard to make a lay up and I felt like that was about all they shot in the first half. So, I guess that felt like it was us but then they got their head up. We started the game out, we get a point-blank lay up there and the first possession and actually that’s two shots right next to the basket, maybe three, and they come down and make a couple so the energy starts for them. They played well. They’re a good passing team. They’re a very good defensive team. You know, they can struggle to score at times, but certainly not this afternoon. But, they’re a very good veteran team that knows how to play, and know all the rules and play well together. They have good pieces inside, got a guy that’s real physical, another guy that knows how to get the ball in the basket. They’ve just got a lot of ways to deal with things, and they’re good at doing what they do and so they’re going to be tough for people to beat. They’re a good team.”

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

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Posted by on Jan 31 2015. Filed under Sports.

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