Arkansas rallies in 2nd half, holds off Texas A&M 62-60
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Arkansas has won all six of its games this season against opponents from the state of Texas, a nugget lost on Razorbacks guard Daryl Macon.
”I’m just happy to win,” Macon said, shrugging. ”I don’t care what state they’re from.”
Macon was especially happy Tuesday night, after the Razorbacks climbed back to .500 in Southeastern Conference play following a 62-60 comeback victory at Texas A&M.
”We took steps backward in those games, and we felt like we were way behind,” Arkansas forward Moses Kingsley said of the Razorbacks’ 1-3 start in SEC play. ”We have to catch up.”
A sterling example occurred Tuesday, when they caught up to the Aggies in a game the Razorbacks will remember for a long time, and one the A&M faithful would like to forget.
Macon scored 16 points and Kingsley followed with 12 as Arkansas overcame a 12-point deficit in the second half to nip the Aggies before a stunned home crowd.
Arkansas (14-4, 3-3 Southeastern) led 61-60 with 26 seconds remaining when the Razorbacks’ Jaylen Barford missed two free throws. On the second, A&M’s D.J. Hogg and Robert Williams became entangled in fighting for the rebound under the basket, and the ball rolled out of bounds on the Aggies.
Following the inbound pass, Macon dribbled the ball out of bounds in trying to escape a trap, and the Aggies (9-8, 1-5) had another chance. But Hogg’s long-range, off-balanced offering missed its mark by a long shot with seven seconds left, and Macon was fouled on the other end of the floor by Tyler Davis.
Macon made his first free throw and missed his second, and a runner from a few feet above the top of the key by A&M’s Admon Gilder bounced off the rim as time expired.
”That was a bad miss,” Macon said of his second free throw that would have given Arkansas a three-point lead. ”I need to go and shoot a 1,000 of them tomorrow.”
Gilder led the Aggies with 16 points, and Davis followed with 14.
”We played like an immature, undisciplined team, and that’s my fault,” A&M coach Billy Kennedy said of allowing Arkansas to climb back from a 48-36 deficit. ”I have to do a better job getting them tougher and tighter with the ball.”
Arkansas hadn’t won in Reed since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012, and the Razorbacks also earned their first victory in A&M’s basketball home that opened in 1998.
”We were fortunate to come out with a win,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. ”We know wins on the road are few and far between. The difference in the game was our defense.”
Arkansas: The Razorbacks drew little comfort from whipping up on the league’s worst team in Missouri last Saturday in Fayetteville. This one meant much more, considering it came on the road in a rowdy setting, with A&M’s students back in town for the semester. The Razorbacks are now 6-0 this season against teams from the state of Texas.
Texas A&M: The Aggies can kiss their hopes for a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament goodbye, considering in a desperation game they didn’t beat a middling SEC opponent in College Station.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Arkansas’s reserves outscored their A&M counterparts 24-11, as the thin Aggies appeared to wear down as the game played on. Said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson: ”The depth of our team was big tonight.”
Arkansas senior guard Manuale Watkins is the son of former A&M coach Melvin Watkins, and spent a chunk of his early childhood in College Station. A&M fired Melvin Watkins following the 2003-04 season. Manuale made all three of his 3-point attempts against the Aggies, after only making 1 of 4 all season.
HE SAID IT
”He had a lot of 6-10 guys out on the floor. I was saying, `What are we going to do?’ They can play volleyball with us.” – Mike Anderson on Billy Kennedy trying to turn to a bigger lineup at one point in the game.
HE SAID IT, TOO
”I ran through these halls as a little kid, so it’s special. But getting a road win in the SEC is the most important thing. It’s really hard to do.” – Manuale Watkins
Arkansas: The Razorbacks return home to take on LSU on Saturday.
Texas A&M: The Aggies play at home for a second consecutive game when they face Georgia on Saturday.