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Aggies, Volunteers carving out tense rivalry in men's basketball - Aggie Sports: Mens Basketball

Aggies, Volunteers carving out tense rivalry in men's basketball

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Posted: Saturday, February 22, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 12:44 am, Sat Feb 22, 2014.

It's a small sample, but Texas A&M and Tennessee have made for one of the more competitive men's basketball matchups since the Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference last season.

The teams have met twice as SEC opponents with one game going to four overtimes and the second being decided by one point. Both times the visitor came away the victor.

"It might develop into a rivalry," A&M freshman guard Shawn Smith said. "It's something we really don't look into, but it's something that we'll be ready for."

The Volunteers (16-10, 7-6) own the four-overtime victory at A&M, which brought back memories of A&M's rivalry with Baylor when the Bears won at Reed Arena in five overtimes five years earlier.

A&M (15-11, 6-7) had an opportunity to win in regulation on a J-Mychal Reese jumper and again in the first and second overtimes when Elston Turner, who finished with 38 points, had the ball at the end of those periods. Tennessee had a chance to win in the third OT but turned the ball over with two seconds left. Trae Golden took over in the fourth OT, scoring six points including back-to-back jumpers that gave the Vols the necessary push for a 93-85 victory at Reed Arena.

A&M returned the favor in the first week of SEC play this season, rallying from 14 down at halftime to win 57-56 on Antwan Space's 3-pointer with 4.4 seconds left in Knoxville, Tenn.

"When Space hit that 3, it was crazy, insane," Smith said.

Space didn't enter the game until 10 minutes remained in the second half, but he swished both shots he took for six points.

"Seeing Jamal [Jones] come out like that in the second half with confidence ... you could see it," Space said. "The whole team looked like it wanted to win even though we were down."

Jones scored 20 of his 23 points against Tennessee in the second half, bettering A&M's entire first-half output by two points.

The Vols were favored by 12 points, but the Aggies ended their four-game winning streak while handing them their second home loss of the season.

Tennessee is favored again by only 3 1/2 when the teams meet at 2 p.m. Saturday at Reed Arena.

A&M is coming off a 63-48 victory over Alabama at home Thursday, while the Vols defeated Georgia 67-48 at home on Tuesday.

"Tennessee played Tuesday, so I know they've prepared all week for us," Kennedy said. "They are a very good basketball team. I think they are [an NCAA] tournament team."

A&M has improved in the rebounding category, winning the battle of the boards the last three games after being on the short end statistically the previous nine games.

Tennessee 6-foot-6 senior Jordan McRae is fourth in the SEC in scoring at 19.5 points per game while 6-8 junior Jarnell Stokes leads the SEC in rebounding at 10.2 a game.

"Tennessee is an experienced team, so we have to play our best to put ourselves in position to beat them," Kennedy said.

Tennessee (16-10, 7-6)

Pos. Name Height Class PPG RPG

F Jarnell Stokes 6-8 junior 14.4 10.2

F Jeronne Maymon 6-8 senior 10.0 8.0

G Jordan McRae 6-6 senior 19.3 3.5

G Josh Richardson 6-6 junior 9.5 3.0

G Darius Thompson 6-5 freshman 2.8 *2.7

Texas A&M (15-11, 6-7)

Pos. Name Height Class PPG RPG

F Kourtney Roberson 6-9 junior 9.6 6.8

F Jamal Jones 6-8 junior 12.8 4.3

F Antwan Space 6-8 sophomore 5.5 4.4

G Alex Caruso 6-5 sophomore 8.3 *4.5

G Shawn Smith 6-4 freshman 6.0 3.3

A&M basketball

Who: Texas A&M (15-11, 6-7) vs. Tennessee (16-10, 7-6)

When/Where: 2 p.m. Saturday/Reed Arena

TV/Radio: ESPNU/WTAW 1620 AM

Line: Tennessee by 3 1/2

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1 comment:

  • gregwh posted at 7:55 pm on Sat, Feb 22, 2014.

    gregwh Posts: 635

    Was at a First Tech Challenge supporting my daughter...who is on one of 15 teams that moved from the Iowa state championship (her team was on one of the top four alliances). So I had to get by with SportsCenter updates.

    Would have rather we didn't wait until OT to win. But if you're going to close out the win in OT, you should do it by holding them to minimum score so it doesn't get away from you and doing your best to be no worse than tied and shooting the last shot.

    Making it a three and only leaving them two seconds on the clock? Bonus.

    Home win against a team that now shares exactly the same overall and conference record as we do. But we're now at .500 in conference. Color me surprised at momentum we've established.

    With a heroic effort, 11-7 in conference is POSSIBLE (numerically at least) which would also give us 20-11 overall. Think we can move from last week's 132 in RPI into the NCAA tournament? Probably not though a run in the conference tournament could improve that some more.

    I've got rather straightforward expectations: let's see the team continue to play like it seems to matter...

     
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