Texas A&M blows past Arkansas-Pine Bluff 88-55
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)
Jamal Jones said he'd developed two ''tilts'' to his shot, before Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy straightened him out this past week.
''Coach Kennedy said whenever I shot my head tilted and my body leaned to the left, which made my shot a little short,'' Jones explained.
Kennedy's straightening out of the 6-foot-8 junior-college transfer seems to have worked early wonders, as Jones tallied a game-high 18 points in the Aggies' 88-55 romp over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday night.
''We just broke his shot down,'' Kennedy said after Jones made 5-of-7 3-pointers against the Golden Lions. ''He bought into it, worked at it and got his confidence going. (Shooting) is what we recruited him to do.''
The Aggies, 6-0 for the first time since the 2007-08 season, offered up a balanced offensive attack for a fourth consecutive game, as three other Aggies joined Jones in scoring double digits against the Golden Lions (2-4).
''We're all out there thinking about attacking, and that's really good,'' said A&M's Jordan Green, who chipped in 11 points and two steals. ''We're really balanced, and all able to score. We can create some matchup problems for teams, because they're not going to know who to stop.''
A&M has towered over subpar competition so far, however, in defeating three Southwestern Athletic Conference squads along with Buffalo, Rice and Sam Houston State, all in Reed Arena.
''It's a great schedule because we're 6-0 and we've been able to play everybody,'' Kennedy said, smiling. ''But the competition the rest of the season will step up.''
A&M, too, has steadily improved from long range over its first six games, and against UAPB shot a season-best 9 of 15 (60 percent) from the 3-point line, with Jones leading the way. The Aggies started fast, built a 44-29 halftime lead and were never threatened.
Tevin Hammond led the Golden Lions with 15 points, and Daniel Broughton followed with 12.
A&M forced 18 turnovers, including a game-high five by Hammond, although the Aggies had trouble of their own on that front by committing 15. The Aggies' reserves crushed their counterparts by outscoring the Golden Lions 52-12 off the bench.
''Texas A&M is very long and athletic,'' UAPB coach George Ivory said. ''I could tell from (film) they could shoot the ball, and I guess they've really been working on it. I can't say enough about their athleticism.''
The taller Aggies blocked 10 shots, including three each by Jones and Kourtney Roberson.
''He built confidence as a shooter and then started doing other things,'' Kennedy said of Jones turning in a solid defensive effort, as well. ''That's been a big thing, just to get his confidence going.''
Jones originally signed with Ole Miss out of Searcy (Ark.) High School, but transferred to Lee College in Baytown, Texas last year.
''He's really got a nice stroke,'' Kennedy said, ''and can shoot the ball.''
Especially, it seems, when he straightens out the tilts. The Aggies next face Missouri State in the Corpus Christi Classic on Friday, in their first game away from Reed. They take on either SMU or Virginia the following day in Corpus Christi, in their first true test of the early season against similarly sized competition.