Aggies Hammer Horns

This one would not require five overtimes to decide. Texas A&M jumped on Texas early and cruised to an 80-63 thumping in front of a record 13,555 at Reed Arena.

It was a home-win the Aggies absolutely had to have after dropping three of their last four. Texas A&M upped its mark to 17-4, 3-3 in league play. The Horns fell to 16-4, 3-2 in Big 12 action.

Texas never led, trailed by as many as 22, made several spirited runs, but had no answer against a taller, physical Aggie frontcourt. A&M was able to pound the ball inside, hit from outside the arc and keep Texas out of sync from the opening tip to the final buzzer. It was a heated, physical affair that saw Justin Mason and Clint Chapman foul out and Alexis Wangmene ejected for a flagrant foul with 8:33 left. Dexter Pittman was also T'd up in the first period.

Shooting guard A.J. Abrams could not buy a bucket, misfiring on 10-of-13 shots. D.J. Augustin was also erratic, shooting 6-of-19 from the field. With the Aggies clogging the driving lanes and handcuffing Texas' primary perimeter players, dependable Damion James picked the wrong occasion to suffer an off night, going 1-of-6. The one bright spot for Texas may have been Dexter Pittman. The sophomore finished with seven rebounds and tied Augustin with a team-best 14 points.

Forced to play catch-up and finding no room to roam in the paint, the Horns launched 26 three-pointers and connected on just eight (30.6 percent). It contributed to Texas' poorest offensive outing of the season (22-of-65, 33.8 percent). The Aggies placed four players in double figures and, in all probability, enjoyed what should be their most productive offensive outing of the season by draining 27-of-48 attempts (56.3 percent) from the field. A&M entered the ballgame as the Big 12's worst free throwing shooting team, but it was Texas who struggled at the charity stripe with an 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) showing. The Aggies made 19-of-28 foul shots (67.9 percent). The Aggies also held a 39-38 rebounding edge.

Texas needed its big bodies against a taller Aggie lineup, but Connor Atchley was whistled for his second personal just three minutes into the ballgame. The Horns misfired on 11 of their first 13 shots, as the Aggies raced to a 21-5 lead. A frustrated Dexter Pittman was slapped with a technical with 10:15 left until halftime with his right jab to F Bryan Davis' cheek. A Josh Carter trey made it 29-7 as the Aggies' dominated the paint and also rained three-balls atop the Texas zone.

Augustin did not record his first bucket until the Aggies had staked a 31-10 advantage. But his layup launched an 11-0 run that saw Abrams and Mason drain consecutive treys. Augustin's finger roll cut the deficit to single-digits, 35-26. But Texas had no answer for A&M's inside game as the home team answered with an 11-2 run to take a 46-28 cushion into the locker room.

The Aggies clogged the driving lanes all night, but Augustin's fade-away jumper made it a 48-35 game. Pittman picked up his fourth personal with 12:56 remaining and A&M holding a 14-point edge. Augustin's NBA-trey cut into the Aggie lead, 59-48, but Wangmene was T'd up at the opposite end of the court for throwing an elbow and was ejected.

Atchley hit consecutive treys to keep Texas within striking distance, 65-54. But the Horns began misfiring on long-range treys and limited themselves to one shot per possession. The Aggies finished with a late 11-2 run to seal the deal.

Texas can return the favor when the Aggies come calling on Feb. 18. For now, the Horns look to rebound when it hosts No. 25 Baylor, 12:45 p.m. (CST), Saturday.


(Photo: David J. Phillip/AP)

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