Hoops: Surging Aggies upset Texas 74-63

The Texas men’s basketball team fell victim to an unranked Texas A&M squad 74-63 Wednesday night in College Station just days after the Longhorns cracked the top 10 rankings for the first time this season.

A stingy A&M defense paired with a sloppy Texas offensive outing enabled the underdog Aggies to beat the Horns, who had won 10 consecutive road games in College Station before Wednesday’s meeting.

Texas (12-3, 1-1) came into the contest ranked No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 10 in the Associated Press poll but never got things clicking on offense, shooting just 20-of-62 from the field (32 percent).

The Longhorns’ perimeter shooting failed to make an appearance, as Texas connected on only 7-of-21 attempts from behind the arc (33 percent). G Kenny Taylor led the team in treys with three, while G Daniel Gibson remained ice cold from long-range and finished just 1-for-8 from three-point land.

Gibson left the game in the first half with a cut above his eye, but started the second half until heading into the locker room for good with a concussion late in the game.

Forward P.J. Tucker led the team in scoring with 18 points, and C LaMarcus Aldridge added another 12 points, but the Horns were held to a season low in scoring by an Aggie defense ranked No. 1 nationally in field goal percentage. Tucker and Aldridge led the team in rebounding with eight boards a piece.

"You know you're having a tough night when in the first half you have 13 offensive rebounds and shoot 21-percent," Rick Barnes said. "That's a tough night. Obviously, guys can't offensive rebounds without working hard to get it but we didn't do anything with it."

Coming off a career game against Baylor over the weekend, G Kenton Paulino provided nine points off the bench, but the rest of Texas’ depth played little role in the offense, adding just 16 points in the game.

The Aggies, on the other hand, came out firing from the start and finished the game shooting 20-of-43 (46 percent) from the field and drained 8-of-17 three-pointers (47 percent).

"Every time they needed to make a shot when the shot clock was down they did that," Barnes said. "All you can say is job well done by them and we've got to get on down the road and get better."

Texas held Texas A&M’s season scoring leader G Antoine Wright to just nine points, but other Aggies filled the void, including G Acie Law, who led his squad with 24 points.

Texas A&M (12-1, 1-1) is off to its best start in 45 years and proved Wednesday night that challenging Kansas last week and only losing by five to the highly-touted Jayhawks was no fluke.

Texas claimed the lead in the first couple minutes of play but never got it back. After quickly making it a 4-3 ballgame, the Horns allowed the Aggies to go on a 9-0 run until a Paulino three-pointer ended the A&M barrage.

Ensuing scores by Gibson and Tucker brought the game to a tie with ten minutes remaining in the first half. A 12-2 Texas A&M run that followed, though, opened a 10-point gap for the Aggies. Tucker then tacked on a quick four points to make the game more reasonable, but the Aggies struck right back with eight consecutive points.

After exchanging a few buckets, the maroon and white jerseys headed into the break with a 37-22 halftime lead.

The second half played out much like the first, with Texas A&M controlling the ball and the scoreboard.

The Aggies came out of the break ready to play, tallying four quick buckets. F Jason Klotz answered back for the Longhorns with a pair of free throws, but the Aggies fired right back with a three-pointer.

With over eight minutes of basketball to play, Tucker and G Sydmill Harris drained a few baskets to bring an 18-point Aggie lead down to just nine points.

Just when momentum seemed to be shifting in the Burnt Orange favor, Gibson left the court with a concussion, having scored only three points all game.

Texas then forfeited a 9-2 Aggie run until F Brad Buckman and Taylor each dropped a three-pointer to bring the Horns back to within 10 points.

In the closing stretch, Aldridge caught fire and racked up eight points in the final three minutes of the game, but a lack of scoring from other Texas players proved Aldridge’s efforts futile in front of a frenzied Texas A&M school-record crowd of 12,811.

The Longhorns try to get back in the win column vs. Nebraska on Saturday, Jan. 15.

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