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Arkansas-Texas A&M Preview


There was no letdown for Texas A&M after an impressive victory in its previous game, and the Aggies are surging into SEC play as a result.

Twentieth-ranked Texas A&M goes for its fourth straight win when it hosts Arkansas on Saturday.

Freshman center Tyler Davis matched his season high of 18 points, three other Aggies scored in double figures and two more had nine in an 82-63 victory over Cal Poly on Tuesday. Texas A&M (10-2) shot 49.2 percent and went 11 of 33 from 3-point range while limiting the Mustangs to 38.6 percent and 8-of-24 shooting from beyond the arc.

No hangover was apparent after an 80-61 home rout of then-No. 16 Baylor on Dec. 19 that was the squad's second win in as many games against ranked opponents this season. Texas A&M improved to 8-0 at home.

"I'm excited," Davis said. "Our team is really good. I think we can come out as the top team in the conference at the end of it. We just have to go with (coach Billy Kennedy's) game plan and keep playing hard, live with the results at the end of the day."

Eight Aggies average between 5.8 and 15.3 points.

Davis is shooting 79.4 percent from the field but doesn't have enough attempts to qualify in that race yet. After his 8-of-9 performance Tuesday established season highs in both made baskets and attempts, it sounds like he'll be getting more opportunities.

"He's impressive," Kennedy said. "Eighteen points, eight rebounds in 24 minutes. I thought we got him the ball but we can get him the ball more."

Texas A&M, allowing 64.3 points per game and 39.1 percent shooting, led by as many as 22 against Cal Poly.

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The Aggies also owned a 43-34 edge in rebounding, including 16 offensive boards. They've averaged 15.3 offensive rebounds since Nov. 27, which is among the best marks in the nation in that span.

Texas A&M also forced 13 Mustangs miscues that led to a 21-5 advantage in points off turnovers, as well as a 10-0 lead in fast-break points. The Aggies committed a season-low seven giveaways.

"Somebody said we played three games in 22 days (coming into Tuesday)," Kennedy said. "It's hard to really get in the rhythm of playing games and now getting into conference play, I hope we can build a good rhythm and get more consistent in our play."

That's something with which Arkansas (6-6) has struggled. The Razorbacks were in position for a win over Dayton on Wednesday, but couldn't close it out as the Flyers went on a game-ending 10-2 run in an 85-81 overtime victory.

Moses Kingsley led Arkansas with 26 points and the Razorbacks got big production from their reserves, with Anton Beard scoring 11 of his 15 in the second half and Dusty Hannahs adding nine of his 13 after the break. Arkansas' bench outscored Dayton's 32-24.

The Razorbacks, though, lost for the second time in three games - both defeats coming in OT. They've dropped all four contests away from home - two true road games and two neutral-site contests.

"The record is what it is. I'm not awful proud of it, but I am proud of our guys and where they're trending; the direction they're going," coach Mike Anderson said. "We were really tested against a very good Dayton team, and as we begin in the (conference) season ... we're opening up at Texas A&M, a team that's a top-15 team, could be top 10.

"I was watching the game they played against Baylor and they just dominated, so we've got our work cut out for us."

Kingsley has averaged 22.0 points in his last three contests.

Texas A&M has taken two of the last three meetings, winning 81-75 at Fayetteville in the most recent Feb. 24. Danuel House, leading the Aggies with 15.3 points per game, scored a game-high 28 and went 5 of 9 from 3-point range.