Texas A&M tops Hartford, 58-49
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy searched for a positive outside of the final score in the Aggies’ 58-49 victory over Hartford on Saturday. An otherwise disappointed Kennedy finally came up with one following what he dubbed an ”ugly game.”
”When they cut it to three, we showed enough poise to score and make the plays we needed to win,” Kennedy said.
The Aggies (9-3) wrapped up their non-conference play with the jagged offering, and open Southeastern Conference action Tuesday at Alabama. Kennedy said he thought A&M was ready for league play, but Saturday’s showing made him believe otherwise, at least in the minutes following.
”After the game I don’t feel great about it,” Kennedy said. ”But off of our practices and what we have (on the roster), I know we’ll be ready to play against Alabama.”
Jalen Jones led the Aggies with 12 points, while senior forward Mark Nwakamma led the Hawks (7-7, 0-1 America East) with 13 points.
The Aggies (9-3) led 42-36 with 7:48 remaining when Danuel House converted a three-point play after an offensive rebound to give A&M what appeared to be breathing room at 45-36, but the Hawks wouldn’t go quietly.
Hartford’s Taylor Dyson sank a 3-pointer to tighten the gap to 47-44 with 3:12 remaining. A&M’s Jordan Green countered with two free throws and, following a defensive stop, Antwan Space put away the game with a reverse layup on an assist from Alex Caruso.
”They handled our run in a real poised way,” Hartford coach John Gallagher said.
”I feel like we were in control the whole game,” Green said. ”We started off pretty good, because some of the other games we had to fight our way back.”
The Aggies backup point guard, Alex Robinson, did not play because of what Kennedy dubbed a ”coach’s decision,” adding Robinson needed to take care of his business on and off the court. Kourtney Roberson (10 points over 15 minutes in the first half) didn’t play in the second half because his ”heartbeat got out of rhythm,” Kennedy said.
Roberson has battled such a setback before, and doctors have cleared him to play. Roberson strolled past the post-game interview room on Saturday and told reporters, ”I’m OK.”
The Hawks were in the game until the final minutes despite shooting 28.1 percent (16 of 57) from the floor, including 8 of 32 from the 3-point line.
”I’m thankful we found a way to win,” Kennedy said. ”And Hartford missed some shots.”
Texas A&M: The Aggies won despite missing all 13 3-points attempts, including six misfires by House. A&M did not make a 3-pointer in a game for the first time since Nov. 30, 2011, when they missed 17 in a victory over Alcorn State.
”We had wide open looks,” Kennedy said of Saturday’s misses. ”House was shooting 43 percent on his 3-pointers. I think sometimes we were too open.”
Texas A&M: The Aggies open Southeastern Conference play at Alabama on Tuesday.
Hartford: The Hawks resume America East play on Wednesday when they play host to Binghamton.
Caruso’s five steals gave him 158 for his career, in easing past Acie Law (156 from 2003-07) for sixth place on the program’s all-time list. . The Aggies overwhelmed the smaller Hawks 34-14 in the paint and 22-0 off the bench.
”It’s basketball, it happens. It will happen in practices and it will happen in games. We got good shots, we just didn’t hit them. (But) we kept doing other things right.” – A&M freshman guard Peyton Allen on the win despite the Aggies missing all 13 of their 3-point attempts.