Texas A&M gets one final tuneup before conference play begins—although it hardly looks like its needed.
The 12th-ranked Aggies look to continue their impressive start and win their 46th straight non-conference game at Reed Arena when they host LSU on Saturday.
Texas A&M (13-1) matched its second-best start in school history following Monday’s 68-41 win over Rice. The Aggies have the same record after 14 games as they had in 1959-60, while the school’s best start came in 1919-20, when they finished 19-0.
Not much has slowed down Texas A&M lately, as it has won six straight games - all at home - by an average of 30.1 points since suffering its only loss, a 78-67 setback at Arizona on Dec. 2.
“LSU is coming in and conference is coming up, so we’re trying to get better and better each and every day in practice,” said senior forward Joseph Jones, who had 14 points and nine rebounds on Monday. “We just got to keep doing the same things we’re doing, and keep getting better individually as well as a team.”
The Aggies can’t play any better at Reed Arena, where they have won 13 straight home games, including all 11 this season. Texas A&M hasn’t lost a non-conference home game since falling to Texas A&M - Corpus Christi 82-80 on Dec. 13, 2003.
The Aggies have been winning with their suffocating defense, as they are second in the Big 12 in scoring defense (57.1 points per game) and first in field-goal percent defense (35.6).
Texas A&M held the Owls to just 18 first-half points and only 15-of-56 shooting (26.8 percent) for the game. LSU, meanwhile, is averaging 60.5 points on only 37.8 percent shooting in its last four games, losing three of those contests.
“I’m excited about the defense, because I don’t think we’ve guarded well the last few games,” first-year Aggies coach Mark Turgeon said. “I think the guys put a lot more energy into the defense.”
Center DeAndre Jordon had 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, 12 rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots on Monday. The 7-foot freshman is averaging 10.5 points on 78.0 percent shooting.
Junior guard Josh Carter is averaging a team-high 13.8 points, and finished with 16 points against Rice.
The Aggies, who are picked to finish third in the Big 12, open conference play next Saturday against Colorado.
Texas A&M lost to LSU 64-52 on Dec. 5, 2006 and is 9-14 all-time against the Tigers. This will be the first meeting between the teams in College Station since 1981.
LSU (7-6) is coming off a 68-63 loss to Tulane on Wednesday, its first loss to the Green Wave since 1982. The lead changed four times in the final 3 1/2 minutes before Tulane took the lead for good with 1:16 remaining.
“I’m disappointed in the loss, but I’m not disappointed in how we competed,” Tigers coach John Brady said.
Terry Martin scored a season-high 19 points on Wednesday, connecting on 4-of-9 shots from 3-point range. Martin is averaging 14.1 points on 21-of-49 (42.9 percent) shooting from beyond the 3-point arc in his last seven games after averaging 7.0 points on just 6-of-27 (22.2 percent) 3-point shooting in his first six.
LSU lost to then-No. 25 Villanova 68-67 at the Wachovia Center on Dec. 6 in its only game against a ranked opponent this season. The Tigers have lost five straight road games against Top 25 teams dating to 2005-06, and are only 3-31 on the road against ranked teams since 1996.