No. 9 Texas A&M seeks home cooking vs. Savannah State

After making trips to Europe, the East Coast and the Desert Southwest, Texas A&M gets stay home for a few weeks as it prepares to open Southeastern Conference play.

The No. 9-ranked Aggies play a second straight home game for the first time this season when they host Savannah State on Wednesday in College Station, Texas.

Their 73-53 win over Prairie View A&M on Saturday came in just their fourth home game of the season.

Texas A&M (8-1) went to Germany to beat then-No. 11 West Virginia in the season opener and beat Oklahoma State and Penn State to win the Progressive Legends Classic at the Barclays Center last month in New York.

The win over the Panthers came on the heels of the Aggies’ first loss of the season, 67-64 at Arizona on Dec. 5.

“Being on the road a lot has been good for us. We’ve learned a lot of lessons, and we’ve had some challenging games,” junior Tyler Davis told reporters after the loss.

Now the Aggies are in the middle of four straight home games before the Christmas break.

“We were able to get something out of it,” coach Billy Kennedy said. “We’ve survived traveling all over the road.”

One thing he’ll be working on is getting his team to put away overmatched opponents.

Texas A&M led Prairie View just 44-40 five minutes into the second half.

Earlier wins over Texas-Rio Grande Valley, UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine followed similar scenarios.

“I thought our energy wasn’t very good at times, but when we needed it we were able to raise it up a level at the end,” Kennedy said after his team beat Pepperdine. “Winning two big games (in New York) and then coming home, we didn’t play like a veteran team.”

Now, Texas A&M must avoid a letdown against the heave-it-from-anywhere Tigers.

Savannah State (3-8) leads the nation with more than 39.5 3-point attempts per game. The Tigers are tied for 10th with 11.3 made 3-pointers per game, and they take more almost 55 percent of their shots from behind the arc.

“Savannah State is a unique team,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said before his team faced the Tigers last month, according to the Lubbock (Texas) Avalanche-Journal. “They’ve got a style of play that’s non-traditional. They pride themselves in being the fastest-tempo team in college basketball.”

But the Tigers aren’t what you would call offensively efficient.

They average a little more than 83 points a game but make just 38.8 percent of their field goal attempts — by far the lowest of any team in the top 50 in scoring.

“It looks crazy, but you’re trying to teach them how to play,” head coach Horace Broadnax told The Washington Post. “You’re teaching how to think real fast. You’ve either got the shot, and if you don’t, you’ve got to get it to somebody else. If not, try to get a layup. We’ve got some rules and some structure to it, and they really have to think.”