Last weekend, Texas A&M regrouped from its first loss of the season by returning home to score its most points in 18 years.
The 14th-ranked Aggies look for another strong offensive effort Sunday afternoon as they try to continue their recent non-conference dominance at home when they face Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Texas A&M (8-1) didn’t let its 78-67 loss at Arizona on Dec. 2 linger, blowing out Texas State 109-73 on Dec. 8 in its next game. It was the most points scored by the Aggies since a 114-90 victory over Florida International on Dec. 21, 1989.
“I had a feeling we were going to play really good,” said first-year Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon.
The victory also was the Aggies’ 40th straight at home over a non-conference opponent. They lost 82-80 to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 13, 2003 for its most recent defeat to a non-Big 12 opponent at home.
The Aggies, shooting 51.3 percent from the field on the season, hit 67.2 percent against Texas State - the fourth-best shooting performance in school history. At the other end, they blocked 10 shots and held Texas State to 33.3 percent from the floor.
“I feel like every time we step on the court we get better,” Turgeon said. “At least one person gets better every game. Our guys are gaining a lot of confidence.”
Texas A&M’s scoring total could have been much higher, but the team made just 20-of-37 (54.1 percent) at the free-throw line.
Freshman DeAndre Jordan and sophomore Donald Sloan each had 18 points for the Aggies, who had 14 players score against Texas State. The 7-foot Jordan also had nine rebounds and Sloan added five assists.
Neither player averages more than 9.6 points per contest.
“We were able to get better,” said Sloan, who matched his career high for points and added five assists. “We executed every possession at a high level and I think we got better.”
The Aggies now play the second in a stretch of eight consecutive home games - mostly against inferior opponents - that concludes with their Big 12 opener against Colorado on Jan. 12.
Texas A&M has a chance to continue its progression Sunday when it faces Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-5) for the second time. The Aggies won 82-53 on Nov. 24, 2003 in the only previous meeting.
The Golden Lions have won three straight since starting 1-5. They won 61-49 at Louisiana Tech on Tuesday in their most recent contest. It was the second time this season Pine Bluff has defeated the Bulldogs.
Senior forward William Byrd had 16 points with six rebounds and five blocks for the Lions, who have not had a winning season since joining the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 1997-98.
The 6-7 Byrd scores 13.2 points per game and is the only Lions player averaging in double figures.
Pine Bluff will face its first ranked opponent of the season. It has lost its last seven games against Top 25 schools.