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Aggies Pick Up Key Road Win at No. 8 Auburn

(Source: Texas A&M Athletics)

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Duane Wilson made one of two free throws with four seconds left to lift Texas A&M to an 81-80 upset of No. 8 Auburn on Wednesday night.

The Aggies (16-8, 5-6 Southeastern Conference) held on for their third straight win after squandering a 17-point lead in the second half. Freshman guard T.J. Starks scored a career-high 23 points.

Mustapha Heron’s 3-point attempt from a few feet across midcourt bounced off the rim at the buzzer, capping a wild second half and final minute.

Malik Dunbar forced a jump ball off an inbounds pass with 50 seconds left, but Auburn (21-3, 9-2) gave it right back when Wilson caused a turnover.

D.J. Hogg missed a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down and Horace Spencer was fouled with 10 seconds left.

Spencer tied it with a pair of free throws. Wilson then drove toward the basket and was fouled by Chuma Okeme.

After a long review by the officials, the 80 percent foul shooter swished the first one and missed the second. Spencer grabbed the rebound with 3.2 seconds left.

Auburn just got it across midcourt to set up a desperation final shot.

Robert Williams scored 16 points and Tyler Davis had 15 for the Aggies. Admon Gilder added 11 points, and Starks shot 4 of 5 on 3-pointers.

Heron led Auburn with 28 points. Jared Harper had 13 points and eight assists. Desean Murray scored 11 and Anfernee McLemore 10.

Auburn leading scorer Bryce Brown left late in the first half with a right shoulder injury and didn’t return. He had seven points.

 


Texas A&M Basketball Postgame Notes
Texas A&M 81, #8 Auburn 80
Feb. 7, 2018 | Auburn Arena (Auburn, Ala.) 

RECORDS / SERIES NOTES

  •  Texas A&M won its third straight game Wednesday with an 81-80 road victory over No. 8 Auburn … Texas A&M improved to 16-8 on the season with a 5-6 mark in SEC play.
  •  The loss was the Tigers’ first of the year inside Auburn Arena, where AU was a perfect 12-0 prior to Wednesday.
  •  Texas A&M is now 4-0 all-time in games at Auburn Arena and leads the all-time series 10-4.
  •  The victory was A&M’s second road win over a top-10 opponent this season … the Aggies defeated then-10th ranked USC in Los Angeles on Nov. 26.
  •  A&M is 3-3 overall vs. ranked teams this season, having carded wins over No. 11 West Virginia (Nov. 10 at Ramstein Air Base Germany), No. 10 USC (Nov. 26 in Los Angeles) and No. 8 Auburn (Feb. 7 in Auburn) against road losses vs. No. 21 Kentucky (Jan. 9 in Lexington), No. 24 Tennessee (Jan. 13 in Knoxville) and No. 5 Kansas (Jan. 27 in Lawrence).

TEAM NOTES

  •  Texas A&M built a 17-point lead with 18:53 remaining in the second half before withstanding an Auburn surge that saw the Tigers take a two-point advantage with 7:41 to play … A&M took the deciding lead and gave the game its final score on a Duane Wilson free throw with four seconds to play.
  •  Texas A&M owned a 33-22 edge in rebounding as well as a 42-36 advantage for points in the pain.
  •  Lifted by hot shooting in the opening period (63.3 percent), the Aggies took a 46-36 lead into the intermission … TJ Starks led all scorers with 16 points in the opening 20 minutes.
  •  A&M used the starting lineup combination of TJ StarksAdmon GilderDJ HoggRobert Williams and Tyler Davis for the fourth time this season (3-1).

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

  •  Rookie guard TJ Starks tied his career-high with 16 points in the opening period before finishing with a personal-best 23 in the contest on 8-of-12 shooting (4-of-5 from 3-point range).
  •  Sophomore forward Robert Williams was proficient, converting 8-of-9 field goal attempts to finish with 16 points … the Oil City, La., native also contributed a game-high eight rebounds … Williams is shooting 77 percent (47-for-61) in his last seven contests.
  •  Also reaching double-figure scoring for the Aggies were juniors Tyler Davis (15 points) and Admon Gilder (11 points)
  •  Davis move passed Shanne Jones (1,179 career points from 1996-99) into 20th place on Texas A&M’s all-time scoring list with 1,188 points during his three-year career.
  •  Aggie head coach Billy Kennedy improved to 131-93 during his seven-year tenure at Texas A&M and 342-272 in 20 seasons as a head coach.

UP NEXT

  •  The Aggies return home where they will host No. 24 Kentucky on Saturday inside Reed Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:15 p.m. with television coverage on ESPN.

Postgame Quotes
Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Kennedy 

Opening Statement… “Tough, hard-fought game here. The SEC is no joke. Every game has been a challenge. Auburn is a heck of a team. We were very fortunate to get out of here with a win.”

On what the difference was in the second half… “We had a hard time guarding them off of the dribble. They got to the free-throw line early and hurt us off of the dribble. We turned the ball over too many times in the second half. We got out of control a little bit. It was a physical game, and it took us a while to adjust to their physicality on the perimeter.”

On the quick turnaround to play Kentucky Saturday… “In this league, every game is big. We have to get back home and rest up for a Kentucky team that is going to be well prepared to play. You have to give Auburn credit for what they have been able to do in this league, their depth and their ability to score the ball and score off the bounce. It is really hard to guard.”

TJ Starks, G, Fr. 
On his performance… “Tonight, I just believed in the offense and trusted my teammates. As you can see, tonight was my night to score a lot of points. I just stayed down and stayed true to the offense, basically. I just did what I had to do to get my team a win.”

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

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Posted by on Feb 8 2018. Filed under Sports.
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