Since suffering its only loss of the season, Texas A&M has had little trouble with its last three opponents. The No. 14 Aggies expect that to continue following a week-long layoff when they host struggling Florida A&M on Saturday.
Texas A&M (11-1) has won four straight since suffering a 78-67 loss to Arizona on Dec. 2, when it was ranked No. 9. Since then, the Aggies have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 31.3 points while shooting a combined 59.2 percent from the field.
Texas A&M is coming off a 88-66 win over UC Irvine last Saturday. The Aggies had six players score in double figures and shot 63 percent from the field in one of their most balanced offensive games of the season. Donald Sloan and Dominique Kirk led the team with 14 points each while leading scorer Josh Carter scored 10.
“What you saw tonight,” Sloan said, “everything seemed to be going in for us.”
The Aggies led by only 10 points at halftime, but Carter sparked a run with two 3-pointers early in the second half. Texas A&M made 9-of-19 from beyond the arc.
“Offensively, we played about as well as we’ve played for 40 minutes,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “We did a lot of really good things.”
The Aggies’ defense has also been sharp. They are among the nation’s top 25 teams in scoring defense, holding opponents to an average of 58.7 points. Before last Saturday’s game, they held Detroit and Arkansas-Pine Bluff below 25 percent shooting and to fewer than 40 points in back-to-back games.
The Anteaters shot 44.4 percent from the field last Saturday.
Texas A&M has won 43 straight regular-season nonconference home games and they play three more times in College Station after Saturday’s game before going on the road to play at Texas Tech on Jan. 12.
Florida A&M (3-7) has not played since losing 87-60 to Kansas State on Dec. 17. The Rattlers shot 37.7 percent from the field in the loss.
Leading scorer Leslie Robinson scored 19 points, going 5-of-9 from 3-point range, but the rest of the starters were just 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) from the field. The Rattlers were also outrebounded 48-20.
Florida A&M has faced a tough schedule, having played only three times at home. The Rattlers are 1-5 in true road games and 1-7 in all games away from home. After Saturday’s contest, they visit Baylor and return home to take on Warner Southern before going back on the ground for four straight.
“We keep each other up mentally,” said first-year coach Eugene Harris. “You need to play a tight schedule to get you ready for your league … I’ve seen an improvement since I’ve gotten my staff together and that’s the sign of brighter things down the road. You take a game like this and you try to find more positives for your team than you do negatives.”
This is the first meeting between the teams.