Baylor-Texas A&M Preview

BY foxsports • December 19, 2015

Baylor has enjoyed the upper hand in the Battle of the Brazos lately. Extending that success over Texas A&M would give the Bears their longest single-season winning streak in four years.

Sixteenth-ranked Baylor goes for its first road win of the season Saturday night against the No. 24 Aggies.

The Bears (8-1) have won six straight meetings with Texas A&M (8-2), but the average margin of victory is just 6.5 points. Their latest win was their most comfortable over that stretch - 77-63 at home Dec. 9, 2014.

Things were even cozier Wednesday for Baylor, which put together its best scoring effort of the season in a 104-59 victory over Division III Hardin-Simmons at Fort Hood.

The Bears are outscoring opponents by an average of 25.3 points while winning seven straight games in a season for the first time since their 17-0 start to 2011-12. They won 11 straight games bridging two seasons in 2013.

Baylor's current streak, however, doesn't include a true road game. The Bears fell 74-67 at then-No. 25 Oregon in their only road game so far.

Johnathan Motley can change that with another strong performance against the Aggies. The reserve forward had 22 points and 11 rebounds while going 9 for 16 from the floor as a freshman in last year's meeting. He was also a force Wednesday, hitting 11 of 15 shots to finish with 23 points and six boards.

"I'm just going to try to come out and do the same thing I did last year; attack the paint and make sure I get the offensive boards," Motley said. "I think we can come out with a win."

Rico Gathers has totaled 51 points and 27 rebounds while connecting on 22 of 32 field-goal attempts over the past two games.

The Bears have gone 54 consecutive games - 40 wins - without allowing 75 points, the nation's longest active such streak.

The Aggies, though, average 87.8 points and have scored at least 75 each time during their 6-0 start at home. They're scoring 79.4 per game overall and are coming off last Saturday's 78-68 win over Kansas State at College Station.

Texas A&M shot 54 percent from the floor and 7 of 14 from beyond the arc after making 38.1 percent and 23.8, respectively, while dropping two of the previous three games.

"We're still figuring out ourselves. We're not obviously clicking on all cylinders by any means," coach Billy Kennedy said. "Not clicking like we want to be and it's not a surprise. It's still early in the year."

Danuel House leads the Aggies with 15.4 points per game, but the guard had a season-low seven against the Wildcats while missing 9 of 11 from the field.

Alex Caruso picked up the slack, scoring 13 points with nine assists while matching his career high with six steals. The guard's 224 career steals are four back of David Edwards' team record set from 1991-94.

"It's all about playing with energy," Caruso said. "I had a couple of games where I didn't play with good energy so statistically I didn't show up. I think it's more about me focusing and playing hard."

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