Texas A&M-Georgia Preview
It's been 30 years since Texas A&M won its first five conference games. Standing in the way is a Georgia team that has come out on top in every meeting since the Aggies joined the SEC.
The 15th-ranked Aggies look to accomplish that feat and also extend their longest winning streak in five years when they visit the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Texas A&M (14-2) beat visiting Florida 71-68 on Tuesday to move to 4-0 in SEC play. It's the school's first 4-0 conference start since it was in the Big 12 in 2006-07, and the Aggies last opened 5-0 in league play in 1985-86, when they were a member of the Southwest Conference.
The victory over the Gators gave Texas A&M a seven-game winning streak, its longest since taking 13 straight in 2010-11, but it didn't come easy. Florida never led in the final 20 minutes but tied it twice and had a potential tying basket bounce off the rim at the buzzer.
''When you get later down in conference the games are going to get even tougher, and this game right here is going to prepare us for the end of the season and for other games past that,'' said senior swingman Jalen Jones, who scored 26 and leads the Aggies with 17.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
Jones is averaging 23 points in conference play and senior guard Danuel House has totaled 45 points in the past two for the Aggies, whose last three wins have come by a combined eight points.
''It feels very great for our confidence,'' Jones said. ''We feel like we're the best team in the SEC and we just try to play like that every night.''
Texas A&M hasn't been at its best against Georgia (9-5, 2-2) since joining the SEC for the 2012-13 season, dropping all four meetings while averaging 50.3 points.
Jones and House were held to a combined 20 points in last season's 62-53 home loss, with Kenny Gaines scoring 15 to lead the Bulldogs.
Gaines, a senior guard, is third on Georgia this season with a career-high 14.8 points per game, and he's coming off a 23-point performance in Wednesday's 81-72 win over Tennessee – the Bulldogs' sixth in a row at home.
That output was topped by junior guard J.J. Frazier, who scored 28. Gaines and Frazier combined to hit 10 of the team's season-high 12 3-pointers with leading scorer Yante Maten (16.3) being held to 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
''At times we try to call ourselves the Splash Brothers,'' Gaines said with a smile, referring to the nickname made famous by long-range shooters Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the NBA's Golden State Warriors.
Gaines and Frazier also teamed up to score the final 23 points during a 25-6 run after the Volunteers led by nine early in the second half.
''We calmed down,'' Maten said. ''We were playing overly excited in the first half. We were trying to make a lot of home-run plays but I think in the second half we just played like we play. We stopped trying to rush and the ball went in.''
Georgia has lost eight straight against Top 25 opponents since beating No. 21 Missouri 70-64 in overtime Jan. 8, 2014.