Kansas St.-Texas A&M Preview

Texas A&M had its 13-game winning streak snapped in ugly

fashion earlier this week, but it has a good chance to bounce back

this weekend against a struggling Big 12 foe.

The 11th-ranked Aggies return home Saturday to take on reeling

Kansas State, trying to win their 14th straight at home.

Texas A&M (16-2, 3-1) had the program’s longest winning

streak in 90 years snapped in an 81-60 loss at No. 10 Texas on

Wednesday. The defeat was the team’s first since losing 67-65 to

Boston College on Nov. 25.

It was another poor defensive effort by the Aggies, who had

struggled in a 91-89 overtime home win over then-No. 15 Missouri

last Saturday. The Tigers shot 52.2 percent in that game and the

Longhorns shot 58 percent Wednesday, the highest percentage by a

Texas A&M opponent since Arizona shot 58.3 percent in 2008.

Prior to those two games, the Aggies were holding opponents to

37.7 percent shooting.

“They just out-toughed us,” senior Nathan Walkup said. “Whether

the officials call fouls or not, they just out-toughed us tonight.

They were more physical than we were tonight and that can’t happen.

The whole game is built on toughness and defense.”

Khris Middleton scored 16 points, but 12 came in the first half.

Meanwhile, second-leading scorer David Loubeau, who scored 28

points the previous two games, finished with seven on 3-of-9

shooting Wednesday.

The Aggies haven’t lost back-to-back games since Jan. 12 and 16,

2010, when they fell to Kansas State and Nebraska, respectively.

Both of those games were on the road, however, and Texas A&M

has been outstanding at home this season.

Although they struggled to slow the Longhorns, the Aggies are

11-0 at Reed Arena, holding opponents to 58.1 points per game on

38.6 percent shooting.

Texas A&M certainly has a good chance to put on another

strong defensive performance at home against Kansas State (13-6,

1-3), which is struggling to get its offense going during a

disappointing start in league play.

The Wildcats, who were once ranked No. 3 in the AP poll, fell

out of the Top 25 on Monday and then suffered a 75-59 loss to

Missouri a few hours later.

“It all ends up on me,” coach Frank Martin said. “I’ve done a

bad job coaching this team. I did a pretty good job early, and I’ve

let this team down, and that’s not going to happen again.”

Martin’s team trailed 43-28 at the half against the Tigers and

finished the game with 24 turnovers to only eight assists. In

conference play, the Wildcats have 75 turnovers to 53 assists.

Martin said upperclassmen like Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly

need to step up as both players have been inconsistent since

returning from suspensions.

Kelly – playing his second game following a six-game suspension

– finished with four points and six turnovers Wednesday, while

Pullen, who averaged 21.8 points the previous four games, scored 16

on 4-of-11 shooting while recording only one assist.

“All our guards are young, and none of them were very good,”

Martin said. “There was bad decision making, but that’s where

you’ve got to rely on your upperclassmen … I was disappointed in

Jacob and Curt.”

Kansas State has won its last two against Texas A&M,

including a 65-60 victory Feb. 7, 2009, in its last trip to Reed

Arena.