Auburn, Ala.--The Aggies hit the Auburn Tigers with a one-two offensive punch that provided more than enough points for Texas A&M to take a 71-61 SEC basketball victory on Tuesday night at Auburn Arena.
It was a fifth straight win for the visitors and a third straight loss for Auburn.
Guard Danuel House helped the Aggies take control in the first half with his three-point bombs and in the second half a variety of his teammates were able to penetrate the Auburn defense for high percentage shots.
House nailed six of seven three-pointers on the way to scoring 22 points as his team hit 50 percent from the field. In contrast the Tigers made just 34.1 percent of their field goals
“The House was on fire,” said A&M coach Billy Kennedy. “He really got us going.”
“I thought our other guys did a good job of taking the ball to the basket,” said Kennedy, whose players dominated the points in the paint statistic 42-14 while out-rebounding the Tigers 36-29.
“We didn’t settle for jump shots,” added Kennedy, who noted that his team is playing with a lot of confidence during the winning streak.
Bruce Pearl was impressed with the Aggies, too. “Texas A&M is one of the best teams we have played so far,” the Auburn coach said. “They play really well together and they played with poise on the road.”
Pearl said his Tigers took a step backwards from the way they performed on Saturday at Alabama. “We didn’t play well together offensively,” he said. “Defensively, it was really hard for us to keep the guards in front of us.”
The coach added, “My biggest thing moving forward is I have got to find a way to get our team to play better offensively.”
Texas A&M plays tight defense vs. K.T. Harrell.
The Aggies improved to 14-5 overall and 5-2 in the SEC. Auburn slipped to 10-10 for the season and 2-5 in the conference.
Jalen Jones scored 13 points for the Aggies while Alex Robinson came off the bench to score 12 points.
Auburn came out cold shooting the ball allowing the visitors to 8-0 lead before Tajh Shamsid-Deen scored on a layup at the 16:43 mark. The Aggies by as many as 11 points at the 14:44 mark following a three by House, who scored 15 points in the first half hitting 5-6 fields with four three-pointers.
The Tigers cut the margin to one and had chances to take the lead, but the Aggies scored six of the half’s final seven points to lead 34-27 at intermission.
Halftime Numbers: Auburn hit 7-19 field goals for 36.8 percent while making 4-10 threes and 9-16 free throws. The Aggies made 14-26 field goals, 4-9 threes and 2-3 free throws. A&M led 17-10 in rebounds and turned the ball over six times, two more than the Tigers. Bowers led AU in scoring with 11 and Mason added nine points.
Mason said the Tigers tried to make a run on the Aggies in the second half, but couldn’t get enough defensive stops to make that happen. The visitors hit 14-30 field goals in the period while Auburn made just 6-21.
Mason said the Aggie’s size bothered the Tigers. “It caused trouble, especially on the base line," the senior guard said. "They just out-muscled us and on rebounds they had the advantage so it was difficult."
Looking at the big picture for his team, Mason said the Tigers need to get back on track. “There is a whole lot of season,” he said. “We can’t look down. We have to look forward. We have Tennessee next.”
The game will be Pearl’s return to Knoxville where he formerly coached. “The guys are a little frustrated because this is not where we wanted to be,” Pearl said.
Injury Report: Tajh Shamsid-Deen reinjured his right shoulder that he first hurt early in the season. He scored five points in 11 minutes. “It hurts when we don’t have him out there,” Pearl said.
Worth Noting: The Aggies held K.T. Harrell to just seven shots and 11 points. “We did a really good job on K.T. Harrell,” he said.
Stat Of the Game: The Aggies made 28 field goals while the Tigers finished with just 15.