Texas A&M escapes, 66-63, over Sam Houston State
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Junior guard Danuel House's offseason transfer to Texas A&M paid big dividends for the Aggies on Wednesday night against Sam Houston State - even if his game-winning 3-pointer was hardly graceful.
''We're really fortunate,'' a relieved A&M coach Billy Kennedy said following the Aggies' 66-63 escape of the Bearkats. ''He threw it in - he didn't have a good stroke on it.''
No matter its trajectory, House's offering still found its mark, and a desperation heave by SHSU's Jabari Peters clanged off the backboard and rim as time expired. On the game-winning play, A&M point guard Alex Robinson drove from the top of the key and fired a pass to House on the left side of the 3-point arc. House, a touted transfer from Houston, briefly bobbled the ball before gathering it in and firing the 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining.
''That's a tough way to lose a game,'' SHSU coach Jason Hooten said.
House said the play was designed for Robinson to work the ball down to forward Kourtney Roberson, but Robinson found him open when the Bearkats collapsed on the play.
''He passed me the ball and I hit the shot,'' said House, who finished 3 of 10 from the floor, including 1 of 4 from the 3-point line.
As for the bobble?
''I was just trying to make sure and secure the ball,'' he added with a smile. ''I did not want to turn the ball over in that moment.''
Roberson led A&M (5-1) with 13 points and guard Alex Caruso followed with 12 as four Aggies scored in double digits.
Guard Kaheem Ransom scored 17 points, and DeMarcus Gatlin and Peters followed with 12 each for the Bearkats (4-3). SHSU was hindered by 16 turnovers to eight for A&M.
''We're not clicking yet, the best is yet to come with this team,'' said Hooten, whose tough-luck squad lost 59-57 at UNLV on Nov. 16. ''When you get down 11-0 (against A&M) to start and come back like we did, that just tells you the character of your kids, and where you are mentally.''
Like House, A&M guard Jordan Green came up big for the Aggies late. Green, who scored 10 points, got five of those in less than 2 minutes with the game on the line. He smoothly sank a 3-pointer to snap open a 54-54 tie with 6:01 remaining, and then he hit a short jumper from the right side to put A&M up 59-56 with 4:16 left on the clock.
Sam Houston State: The Bearkats have lost 19 consecutive games to Texas A&M. SMSU is 52 miles east of College Station in Huntsville, Texas. The Bearkats were angling for their first victory over the Aggies since 1956.
Texas A&M: The primary difference in the contest came in the paint, where the larger Aggies held a 46-20 advantage.
The Bearkats' bench outscored A&M's subs 26-12. . The Bearkats were still in the game late despite shooting 35 percent (19 of 54) from the floor, compared to 44 percent (26 of 59) for the Aggies. SHSU was able to stick around in part because of making 18 of 21 free throws (85.7 percent), while the Aggies struggled from the line (11 of 22 for 50 percent).
''We're still trying to figure out our team in a lot of ways. We're a work in progress, and we've got some young guys we're counting on heavily.'' A&M coach Billy Kennedy.
Sam Houston State plays host to Texas-Pan American on Saturday.
Texas A&M plays host to Arizona State on Saturday.