Texas A&M-Missouri Preview
Texas A&M stayed in the hunt for an SEC title by edging one of the conference's lowliest teams earlier this week.
The No. 21 Aggies will get to face two more such opponents but those games are on the road, where they have lost four in a row.
They get their next chance to end that skid Saturday against Missouri.
Texas A&M's third consecutive win, 68-66 over Mississippi State on Wednesday, kept it one game behind Kentucky in the conference. Danuel House's free throws with 2.1 seconds left also helped the Aggies (21-7, 10-5) remain tied for second with South Carolina.
While trying to catch Kentucky, Texas A&M will face two teams that are a combined 8-22 in the conference. The Aggies, though, will need to end their longest road losing streak since a nine-game skid to end 2013-14.
"To win a championship and put yourself in position to win, you have got to win these (lower-level) games," coach Billy Kennedy said. "Everybody knows about the big-hype games. We've won all the big games (at home) against Baylor, Kentucky and Iowa State. You've got to win these games, too. They all count the same."
The Aggies will try to earn a fourth consecutive win over last-place Missouri (10-18, 3-12). They shot 36.1 percent against the Tigers on Jan. 23, but held them to 35.7 percent and a 3-for-19 performance from 3-point range in a 66-53 victory.
Jalen Jones scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half, but Texas A&M's leading scorer (15.5) has been held to six points in two of his last three games. He had 24 in a 79-77 overtime win against then-No. 14 Kentucky last Saturday.
Freshman center Tyler Davis, averaging 11.1 points, has a combined 30 in his past two games and matched a season high with 12 rebounds in the upset of the Wildcats. He missed the game against Missouri because of an injured left foot.
The Tigers won't have their leading scorer and rebounder from that matchup. Wes Clark, who had 12 points and nine boards, was dismissed Feb. 16 due to academic issues.
Missouri topped South Carolina 72-67 in its first game without its starting point guard to earn back-to-back SEC wins - both at home - for the first time in coach Kim Anderson's two seasons.
The Tigers have followed with a pair of road losses, falling 85-76 to Mississippi on Tuesday despite going a season-best 12 of 23 from 3-point range. Missouri shot 40.0 percent (14 of 35) from inside the arc.
Namon Wright made six 3s en route to a season-high 20 points and Tramaine Isabell scored a season-best 17 off the bench.
Leading scorer Kevin Puryear (11.6) failed to follow up on his season-high 23-point game against Arkansas last Saturday, as the freshman missed nine of 12 shots.
Texas A&M has won in four of its last six trips to Missouri and earned an 83-61 victory in last season's visit.
Already Texas A&M's career steals leader, Alex Caruso needs three assists to surpass David Edwards' 602 from 1991-94.