February 14, 2015

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy often talks about looking to his veterans to lead the team.

On Saturday his most experienced player did just that.

Kourtney Roberson, by far the Aggies' oldest player at 24, had a season-high 20 points and Texas A&M withstood a late charge from Florida to hold on for a 63-62 win.

''Kourtney was really good,'' Kennedy said. ''Fifth-year seniors - that's what they're supposed to do.''

The Gators used a 6-0 spurt to take their first lead of the second half, 62-61, with less than two minutes remaining. Chris Walker scored four points in that span.

Jalen Jones made two free throws to put A&M back on top with about a minute remaining. The Gators had a chance to win it, but Alex Murphy's 3-pointer bounced off the rim as time expired.

Roberson, a senior who entered the game averaging just 7.8 points a game, dominated inside, making 8 of 10 shots and finishing with six rebounds. He led the way on a day where the Aggies scored 42 points in the paint.

''When I got in the paint, I just looked to score instead of being hesitant ... and I think we did a good job of finishing,'' Roberson said.

Texas A&M (17-7, 8-4 SEC) bounced back after a loss to Georgia on Wednesday night.

Eli Carter's 22 points led Florida (12-13, 5-7), which lost its fourth straight game.

''We didn't have enough resistance defensively in the second half,'' Florida coach Billy Donovan said.

Jones added 16 points and Danuel House had 14 to help the Aggies. Caruso had another well-rounded game for Texas A&M with eight points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals.

Kennedy said he felt fortunate to escape this game with a win.

''We couldn't put them away and that's a team that's struggled to close out games,'' Kennedy said.

The Aggies led by eight with 7 1/2 minutes left before five straight points by the Gators, powered by a 3-pointer from Carter, got them within 57-54.

Caruso made a layup for A&M before Walker had a two-handed dunk on the other end to leave Florida down 59-56. Walker then had another highlight when he blocked a layup by Jones seconds later. Walker finished with 11 points and four blocks.

''When his motor is running and he's playing with energy and he gets his athleticism going he really helps us,'' Donovan said of Walker.

Roberson scored four straight points to extend Texas A&M's lead to 45-37 with about 14 minutes left.

''He got layups,'' Kennedy said of Roberson. ''He positioned himself and our guys got him where all he had to do was finish it and he did. We have an advantage inside with Kourtney when Kourtney is playing aggressive like that.''

The Gators then used a 7-0 run, started by a dunk from Chris Walker and capped by five points from Eli Carter, to cut the lead to 45-44.

Tavario Miller scored the first four points of an 8-1 run by A&M that extended the lead to 53-45 with nine minutes left.

The Aggies jumped out to an early 11-4 lead and later extended it with a 7-2 spurt to 27-17. Texas A&M was up by 11 after four quick points by Jalen Jones before Florida closed out the first half with a 9-2 run to get within 32-28 at halftime. Carter scored five points to lead the Gators in that stretch.

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TIP-INS

Florida: Florida leads the all-time series 4-2 and Saturday was Donovan's first loss to the Aggies (3-1). ... Dorian Finney-Smith had 11 points and 10 rebounds. ... The Gators are now 1-6 in games decided by two points or less.

Texas A&M: The Aggies wore limited edition Adidas shoes from the company's Black History Month collection that were created in collaboration with NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. ... Texas A&M outscored Florida 11-2 on fast breaks.

HOME SWEET HOME

Saturday was the second of three straight games at home for the Aggies. They wrap the homestand up by hosting LSU on Tuesday night before heading back on the road to meet South Carolina. The Aggies have enjoyed playing at Reed Arena this season where they are 12-2.

UP NEXT

Florida hosts Vanderbilt on Wednesday.

Texas A&M hosts LSU on Tuesday.

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