Texas A&M started slowly in its previous game. The 19th-ranked Aggies were convinced not to let it happen again.
On Friday night, they started fast and then held on for a 74-62 victory over Akron that snapped the Zips‘ four-game winning streak.
Donald Sloan had 17 points, including a 3-pointer in the game-changing 7-0 run for the Aggies (7-1).
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Texas A&M led 56-50 with 7:35 to play when David Loubeau scored inside, Sloan hit his 3 and B.J. Holmes scored on a fastbreak layup to make it a 13-point lead in just over a minute.
“We were just missing a lot of shots,” A&M guard Derrick Roland said when asked why Akron was able to still be hanging around late in the game. “We missed a lot of 3-pointers and a lot of layups, too. Not to take anything away from Akron, they were playing good defense, but we were also missing shots.”
Darryl Roberts and Chris McKnight both had 12 points for the Zips (4-3), who committed 17 turnovers that the Aggies turned into 19 points.
“We were concerned about their toughness,” said Akron coach Keith Dambrot, whose team allowed 11 steals. “That’s their deal – playing on their home court. We just got a little sloppy, really.”
On Wednesday night, the Aggies started slowly against Prairie View A&M, trailing 15-6 4 minutes in on the way to an 84-59 victory.
On Friday, A&M followed a different path, taking a 13-2 lead a little more than 4 minutes into the game. The Zips slowly climbed back, thanks in part to eight first-half points from Roberts.
The Aggies limited the Zips‘ leading scorer, guard Anthony Hitchens, to two points on 1-of-10 shooting. Hitchens entered the game averaging 10.7 points per game.
“We knew he liked to look for his shot,” said A&M guard Dash Harris, who tallied a career high in assists (8) and steals (4). “I wanted to keep a hand in his face and bother him – I wanted him to make plays for other people.”
A&M, which led 26-23 at halftime, has won 47 consecutive nonconference home games.
“This was a game I was nervous about,” A&M coach Mark Turgeon said. “Akron is picked to win its league. Then you walk in at halftime and you’re only up by three.”