A&M beats Northwestern State
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M used a dominating performance in the paint, outscoring the Demons 42-18 from the inside and defeating Northwestern State 78-65 on Monday night.
Four Aggies scored in double digits, with senior Elston Turner leading the way with 17 points, closely followed by J’Mychal Reese’s 15 points. Turner made five 3-pointers.
“Elston is our best shooter and our best scorer, and when he gets it going and knocking shots down, that opens up shots for everybody else, because the defense has to pay so much attention to him,” Reese said.
Texas A&M led 38-28 at halftime, as Fabyon Harris, Elston Turner and Ray Turner scored eight points each over the first 20 minutes.
The Aggies (5-1) were coming off a 55-54 victory over Washington State in Kansas City in the CBE Classic, when Elston Turner sank a 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining last Tuesday.
Monday’s contest needed no such late heroics from the Aggies, whose lone setback so far this season is a 70-49 whipping at the hands of Saint Louis on Nov. 19.
“A&M did a great job of completely shutting us down in the paint,” Demons coach Mike McConathy said. “They took us completely out of everything we were doing. Billy Kennedy’s young team did a great job of buying into what he’s asking them to do.”
The Aggies led the Demons 46-38 four minutes into the second half before putting away Northwestern State (3-2) with a 10-0 run over the next five minutes, a stretch keyed by three layups from Reese.
“He really had a great game,” McConathy said. “He was converting everything he touched in that span.”
Reese’s steal and resulting layup lifted A&M to a 56-38 lead with 11:33 remaining.
“I’m a fast-break type of player, and we were able to score some easy points in transition,” Reese said.
In addition to overwhelming the Demons in the paint, the Aggies also outscored Northwestern State 19-8 on second-chance points. The rebounding totals were even at 37 each, a tidbit that didn’t please Kennedy.
“That’s something we’re real concerned about,” Kennedy said of A&M being outrebounded 20-17 at the half. “Our post players have had a hard time chasing down rebounds, and that’s something we’ve got to get better at, and we’ve addressed that in practice. We’ve got to have five guys rebound.”
Kennedy also wasn’t pleased with another facet of his team’s play.
“They blocked nine of our shots,” Kennedy said. “Your shot selections aren’t great if somebody is blocking them - we need to kick the ball out and run more offense.”
Shamir Davis led the Demons with 18 points and Jalan West followed with 16.
Demons guard Brison White, who was averaging 8.3 points entering the contest, exited with nine minutes remaining in the second half with a right ankle injury. Following a heavy wrapping, he was able to walk gingerly on the ankle.