No. 9 Texas A&M went on the road and dominated a good Arizona Wildcat team early, building a 20-point lead, before Arizona came back and defeated the Aggies 78-67 in Tuscon on Sunday night. Freshman guard Jerryd Bayless led the Wildcat comeback with 26 points.
After trailing early 5-2, the Aggies went on a 13-point run to open up a 15-5 lead. The Aggie lead extended to 14, 24-10, midway through the first half, and to 20 points, 32-12, with six miunutes left in the first half. Arizona went on a 16-6 run to help pull within 12 at the half, 40-28.
At halftime for the Aggies, Joseph Jones had 8 points and 3 rebounds and Josh Carter had 7 points and 4 rebounds. The Aggies had shot 60% from the field while holding the Wildcats to 44%, and the Aggies held a 15-9 rebounding edge. DeAndre Jordan picked up two early fouls and only played seven minutes of the frist half.
Arizona came out and scored the first 6 points of the second half to cut the Aggie lead to 6, 40-34,and proceeded on a 23-7 run, taking the lead 48-47 at 12:48 in the second half. A 3-pointer by Chase Budinger gave the Wildcats a 4-point lead at 12:07. The Aggies regained the lead 57-55 on a drive an dunk by Josh Carter at 8:46. A free throw by DeAndre Jordan gave the Aggies their last lead of the game, 60-59, with 6:29 left in the game.
The Wildcats scored seven straight points to take a 6-point lead 66-60 with 4:49 left in the game, but after pulling within 3 on a Donald Sloan free throw, 67-64, at 3:32, Arizona pulled away to win 78-67.
As expected, Arizona was led by their two 5-star recruits, true freshman guard Jerryd Bayless (6-3, 195) and sophomore forward Chase Budinger (6-7, 205). Super freshman guard Bayless led the Arizona comeback and finished with 26 points and 6 assists, including 10-for-10 from the line. Budinger had 19 points and Jordan Hill 13.
For the Aggies, Josh Carter had 17 points and 5 rebounds, Joseph Jones 13 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out, and Bryan Davis 10 points and 4 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had a frustrating night, held to 4 points and 3 rebounds in 17 minutes of play.
Texas A&M loses their their third road opener in three years and their fifth in the last six years. The Aggies were 7-0 before losing 64-52 at then-No. 9 LSU on Dec. 5 last season, and were 10-0 prior to losing 63-56 at Pacific on Jan. 3, 2006.
Texas A&M (7-1) will hopefully learn from this loss on the road and will look to regroup for their next game Saturday night when they host Texas State.