Green's late 3 propels Texas A&M over Rice 68-65
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)
Kourtney Roberson paced the Aggies (3-0) with a game-high 19 points, while guard Max Guercy led Rice with 17 in the back-and-forth affair.
''We just came down there and ran a play,'' Green said of A&M coach Billy Kennedy not calling a time out prior to his game-winning jumper. ''We all trust each other, and we stuck together.''
Despite Green's crowd-pleasing finale, the Aggies made only 3 of 18 3-pointers on the night.
''We knew they would play us a lot of zone, and unfortunately we missed a lot of shots,'' Kennedy said. ''We were fortunate to get the win. When we take the right threes, we can make them. Jordan took a rhythm three, and knocked it down.''
Guercy had missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:34 remaining, but quickly responded with a steal and resulting layup, giving Rice (1-2) a 64-63 lead.
Green, who only scored six points on the night, then countered with a jumper to push A&M to a 65-64 lead with 41 seconds left. Out of the break, Guercy drove the lane and was fouled by Roberson, and Guercy responded by making one of two free throws to tie the game with 27 seconds remaining.
Texas A&M then ran down the clock to under 10 seconds prior to Green's go-ahead triple. The Owls' Austin Ramljak missed a desperation 3-point attempt from deep in the right corner on their final possession
''Our guys battled and obviously A&M hit a couple of big shots late in the game,'' Rice coach Ben Braun said. ''We did a decent job of contesting them, but we needed a couple of tough stops there at the end, and we couldn't get them. That was a big shot Green hit.''
The Aggies made 13 of 17 free throws in the first half, when they held a 34-33 lead, compared to a lone free throw for Rice. A&M finished 25 of 37 from the line, while Rice was 8 of 10.
A&M played its third-consecutive game to start the season without starting guard J-Mychal Reese, who's been suspended for an unspecified violation of an athletic department rule. Kennedy has said the number of games Reese is suspended depends on his response to the disciplinary action.
The Aggies also played without guard Fabyon Harris, whom Kennedy said suffered a concussion on Wednesday during practice. Kennedy said he hopes to have Harris back for Tuesday night's home game against Prairie View A&M.
While A&M leads the all-time series between the former Southwest Conference foes 107-82, the Owls entered Friday's action with the upper hand, having defeated A&M 65-58 two years ago in College Station. Roberson broke his ankle in that contest, so Friday's victory certainly provided a better memory.
A&M entered the contest having defeated Buffalo and Mississippi Valley State by 24 points each, while the Owls had beaten St. Thomas by nine and lost to Southeastern Louisiana by one leading up to its old SWC reunion between the schools separated by about 100 miles.
The Aggies, 18-15 last season, have missed the NCAA tournament in each of Kennedy's first two seasons, after A&M played in the NCAA postseason from 2006 to 2011 under two prior staffs. The Owls, in Braun's sixth season, are trying to rebound from a 5-26 record and 12th-place finish in Conference USA action last season.
Kennedy and Braun are quite familiar with each other, too, as Kennedy served on Braun's staff at California-Berkeley when the Bears advanced to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 in 1997.