Missouri-Texas A&M Preview

Missouri struggled during its first Big 12 road game. Trying to
get a win in its next one might prove even more difficult.

The 15th-ranked Tigers will face No. 14 Texas A&M, which has
won 12 straight and seeks its best start in 91 seasons
Saturday.

Missouri trailed by as much as 18 in the second half of an 89-76
loss at Colorado on Jan. 8. The Tigers shot 40.6 percent in that
game and were only slightly better (42.4 percent) in a 77-69 home
win over Nebraska on Wednesday night.

Marcus Denmon, though, hit five 3-pointers and matched a career
high with 27 points. Missouri’s leading scorer (17.6 ppg) had 14 in
the loss to Colorado.

The Tigers (15-2, 1-1) have suffered both of their defeats this
season away from home and have dropped four straight at Reed Arena,
where the Aggies (15-1, 2-0) have won 12 in a row and 28 of 29.

Texas A&M has also matched its best start under coach Mark
Turgeon set in 2007-08, and the only better start was the 1919-20
team that went 19-0.

“In this conference, trying to get a win is so hard on the
road,” Denmon said. “Texas A&M is a good team, but we’ve been
working hard on the things we need to work on.”

While Missouri has been uneven to start Big 12 play, Texas
A&M has won its two games by a combined 41 points thanks in
large part to some impressive defense. The Aggies routed Oklahoma
State 71-48 on Wednesday night by holding the Cowboys to 19 points
in the second half.

“I think it’s a big confidence booster,” forward Nathan Walkup
said. “Oklahoma State is a good team. We’ve got to keep carrying it
over.”

The Aggies, on their longest win streak since a school-record
25-game run from 1919-21, are among the nation’s best in allowing
55.7 points on 37.7 percent shooting. Turgeon, however, knows his
team could face a challenge in the fast-paced Tigers, who are among
the NCAA scoring leaders (85.2 ppg).

“What you see on Saturday will be more of the finesse game. Our
guard play is going to have to be better,” Turgeon said.

David Loubeau scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half last
season at Missouri to help the Aggies escape with a 77-74 win.
Texas A&M had its eight-point lead with 1:09 remaining cut to
one with 14 seconds left on Kim English’s 3-pointer.

B.J. Holmes hit a pair of free throws with 10 seconds to go and
the Tigers missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer.

Khris Middleton, who leads the Aggies with 15.0 points per game,
had 16 off the bench in that victory, while Denmon scored nine –
also as a reserve.

The junior guard has a combined 10 points in his two matchups
with Texas A&M but that could change this season.

“(Denmon) is healthy now and playing with a lot more
confidence,” coach Mike Anderson said. “He is bringing it every
night. He is an emerging leader on the team.”

The Aggies won 96-86 in the previous matchup at Reed Arena on
March 7, 2009, and have averaged 93.7 points in the past three
games there against the Tigers.

Texas A&M can post the longest win in the streak in the
series with a victory Saturday. Missouri, which leads the series
11-8, won six in a row from Feb. 14, 1998-Jan. 16, 2002.