Wagner-Texas A&M Preview
After needing to fight to keep its win streak alive, Texas A&M would seem to have an easier time before Big 12 play starts.
The No. 25 Aggies will search for their eighth consecutive victory when play the first of three straight home games Tuesday night against Wagner.
Following a one-point win at then-No. 21 Washington, Texas A&M found itself trailing by nine early in the second half to Arkansas when a bench-clearing scuffle broke out in Dallas. That fight, which stemmed from a hard foul on A&M junior guard Dash Harris, seemed to revive the Aggies, who rallied to force overtime en route to a 71-62 victory.
"We were sleepwalking," coach Mark Turgeon said. "(The scuffle) seemed like it really changed the game for us."
Texas A&M leading scorer Khris Middleton had 19 of his career-high 31 points after one player from both teams was ejected. Nathan Walkup also scored six of his 15 points on free throws in the final 1:20 of the extra period.
"We've made a lot of strides in the last two weeks. We might not have showed it at times," Turgeon said. "We're playing smarter. We're growing up. ... Guys are smart. We're getting there, slowly but surely. We'll learn a ton from this."
The Aggies (10-1) might not have to learn under as much duress against the Seahawks (4-6). Texas A&M will also face Nicholls State (5-4) and McNeese State (7-4), which is 0-4 away from home, before starting the conference season at Oklahoma on Jan. 8.
The Aggies are seeking their longest win streak since claiming 10 in a row Nov. 29, 2008-Jan. 5, 2009. They've won 24 of 25 at Reed Arena and 57 in a row over non-conference opponents.
Under first-year coach Dan Hurley, Wagner has topped its road win total from last season. The Seahawks are 3-4 away from home after going 2-14 there during their 5-26 campaign in 2009-10.
However, they also enter their first meeting with Texas A&M on a season-high three-game skid. The Seahawks shot 38.6 percent in a 69-57 loss to Princeton on Friday night after topping 46.0 percent in consecutive games for the first time this season.
Freshman center Naofall Folahan had a career-high 19 points and seven blocks in that defeat, while leading scorer Tyler Murray (17.1), a junior guard, matched his season low with 11 points.
Murray is averaging 18.7 points and has hit 16 of 31 3-point attempts on the road this season. He's averaging 13.3 points at home.
Middleton, averaging 16.0 points, has shot 57.1 percent in the past two games at Reed Arena. He made 42.5 percent of his attempts in the first four home games this season.