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Aggies Fall in Top 25 Matchup with Longhorns

Texas A&M loses its first game of the season as the Longhorns score 32 points off of Aggie turnovers

Aliyah Matharu had 26 points and No. 15 Texas converted 32 points off of 19 Texas A&M turnovers as the Longhorns defeated the No. 17 Aggies, 76-60, on Sunday in College Station, Texas.

The game was the final matchup in the Big 12-SEC Challenge, played annually between the two conferences. The SEC ended up winning the challenge, 6-4.

Texas (6-1) fell behind by eight points early in the contest but held a 36-26 lead at halftime. Texas A&M (8-1), trying to avoid its first loss of the season, cut the lead to as little as six points in the third quarter. But, Texas’ ability to create turnovers throughout the contest made it impossible for the Aggies to mount a serious comeback.

Matharu, who had a huge game for Texas in its road win over defending national champion Stanford last month, hit five 3-pointers in the contest. Rori Harmon, a true freshman point guard who didn’t start, had 16 points and nine assists. DeYona Gaston, who has seen more playing time with the injury to freshman forward Aaliyah Moore, had 10 points and six rebounds. Lauren Ebo had eight points and seven rebounds.

Destiny Pitts and Syndee Roby led the way for the Aggies. Roby had 16 points and was 6-for-8 from the free-throw line, giving the Aggies some much-needed energy in the second half after dealing with first-half foul trouble. Pitts had 14 points and hit a trio of 3-pointers. Kayla Wells added 13 points before fouling out. Aaliyah Patty didn’t score a single point, but she had a huge game on the glass with 13 rebounds. Jordan Nixon had nine points and a team-leading five assists.

Aggies head coach Gary Blair and Texas head coach Vic Schaefer know each other well. Blair, who has been a Division I head coach since the mid-1980s at Stephen F. Austin, coached against Schaefer when the latter was at Sam Houston in the early 1990s. In 1997, once Blair was established at Arkansas, he brought Schaefer on staff as an associate head coach and put him in charge of his defense.

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When Blair took the Texas A&M job, he took Schaefer — an A&M grad — with him. Schaefer was on Blair’s staff when the Aggies won the 2011 national championship, and a season later Schaefer took the head-coaching job at Mississippi State. With the Bulldogs, Schaefer took the program to the national championship game two years in a row.

Texas hired Schaefer in the spring of 2000. Blair announced his retirement at season’s end earlier this year. During a pre-game ceremony, Schaefer presented his former boss with a pair of custom-made boots with silver spurs, Blair’s initials and a Longhorns logo in burnt orange. 

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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.