COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Texas A&M recruited guard Peyton Allen for one primary reason: He can shoot the basketball.
That was strikingly clear on Friday, when the Aggies defeated New Orleans 87-65 in large part because of Allen's hot hand. The freshman made 4 of 5 3-pointers and finished with 16 points for the 4-1 Aggies.
''It was a blast,'' Allen said. ''Everybody made the extra pass and we knocked down shots. It was fun playing today.''
''Fun'' wasn't the exact word New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger had in mind thanks to the 22-point throttling, especially when his second-leading scorer, Terrance Syon, picked up two fouls in rapid succession less than a minute into the game, and wound up playing 9 minutes total.
''He's been our most improved player from a season ago,'' Slessinger said. ''My heart went out to him.''
Meanwhile, the Aggies went right at the Privateers (1-2) both offensively and defensively, and notched a season low in turnovers (10) and a season high in blocked shots (seven), including three blocks by forward Davonte Fitzgerald.
Despite the solid all-around showing, A&M fourth-year coach Billy Kennedy said there's still plenty of room for improvement.
''We've got a chance to get a lot better,'' he said. ''That's the good thing. We've got a ton of work to do to beat the people that are on our schedule.''
A&M newcomers Danuel House and Tonny Trocha-Morelos, each cleared to play by the NCAA last week, made their home debuts after playing in the final game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Sunday. House finished with 14 points against New Orleans while Trocha-Morelos chipped in nine.
''We're all fighting for minutes,'' House said of the Aggies' deep roster. ''But we're doing it the right way, to make each other better.''
The Aggies made 9 of 21 3-pointers in breaking open a game that had stayed close for much of the first half. Guard Jalen Jones, who transferred from SMU and sat out last season, added 15 points for the Aggies, while guard Christavious Gill led the Privateers with 16 points.
Slessinger said Allen has a strong ability to find the right spacing on the floor for a good look at the basket.
''He's a tough matchup,'' Slessinger said. ''He really stretches things out for them.''
The 6-foot-5 Allen averaged 25 points and six rebounds per game for Glenwood High in Chatham, Illinois, last year, earning the title of Mr. Basketball in Illinois for the class of 2014.
The Aggies led 29-25 before closing out the first half on an 11-3 run to lead 40-28 at the break. A&M didn't ease up in the second half, holding a double-digit lead over the last 18 minutes of the blowout.
''They just keep coming,'' Slessinger said of the Aggies having a solid selection of players in the 6-5 to 6-7 range.
One of those, junior guard Alex Caruso, threw down a thunderous slam dunk in the first half, igniting a crowd on the holiday weekend.
New Orleans: The Privateers lost to the Aggies for the first time in three games in the all-time series, with the first two meetings occurring in 1992 and 1994.
Texas A&M: Coach Billy Kennedy said Tonny Trocha-Morelos, who's a slender 6-foot-10 and 224 pounds, ''just needs to get a feel for how to play,'' having only taken part in two college games so far. The Colombia native missed the first three games while awaiting word on his eligibility from the NCAA clearinghouse.
QUITE AN ASSIST
Texas A&M freshman guard Alex Robinson notched a season-high nine assists.
The Aggies dominated the Privateers 42-22 in the paint and 27-9 on fast-break points, capitalizing on 17 New Orleans turnovers.
New Orleans plays at Denver on Sunday.
Texas A&M plays host to Sam Houston State on Wednesday.