Hot-shooting Texas A&M beats Mississippi State 87-75
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Josh Nebo matched his a career high with 21 points, Savion Flagg added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Texas A&M had its best shooting performance of the season in an 87-75 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.
Wendell Mitchell scored all 20 of his points in the second half for Texas A&M (14-12, 8-6 in Southeastern Conference), which collected its second NET top 50 win of the week. Quenton Jackson added 18 points and Emanuel Miller had 10.
“It’s kind of nice to see us finding our rhythm offensively in a year where we’ve kind of struggled to score and shoot the ball,” Nebo said. “It’s nice to see all the guys find their shot and to see it go through the hoop again.”
The Aggies shot 59.6% (31 of 52) from the field, besting their previous high mark of 56% in the season opener against Northwestern State. It was the best shooting performance for the Aggies since a 61% performance against Penn State on Nov. 21, 2017.
The Aggies entered Saturday’s contest ranked 342nd out of 350 Division I teams in field goal percentage, shooting 39%.
“I thought we did a good job taking good shots — the types of shots we want to make,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “Obviously, it looks prettier when the ball goes in.”
The Aggies closed the first half on a 14-8 surge and led 36-30 at halftime. Mississippi State pulled to 46-44 with about 15 minutes remaining, but a 19-6 run pushed the Aggies to a game-high 14-point lead with 8:08 to play.
Four consecutive 3-pointers by Carter pulled the Bulldogs to 68-62 with five minutes left but they didn’t get closer.
“Look at the offense that shoots 60%,” Bulldog coach Ben Howland said. “For a team that is struggling to score, that is really disappointing defensively for us.”
Texas A&M: The sliver of NIT hope stays intact with an important win over a NET Quadrant 2 opponent.
Mississippi State: Already listed by many bracketologists as one of the first four teams out of the NCAA Tournament, a loss to a Texas A&M squad ranked 124 in the NET adds a blemish to the Bulldogs’ tournament resume.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Along with the high mark for field goal percentage, Texas A&M recorded season highs in points (87), field goals made (31), 3-point percentage (52.9%), free throw percentage (88.9%) and assists (18).
With 3:35 on the clock, Mitchell made a deep 3-pointer and drew a foul on the play to bring the Reed Arena crowd to its feet and give the Aggies a 10-point lead after the made free throw.
Texas A&M hosts No. 10 Kentucky on Tuesday.
Mississippi State plays at home against Alabama on Tuesday.