Ag­gies torch Hogs in 2nd half

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS - BOB HOLT

SEC MEN TEXAS A&M 80, ARKANSAS 66

COL­LEGE STA­TION, Texas — Texas A&M opened the sec­ond half with a flurry of three-point bas­kets to take con­trol of a close game and beat the Arkansas Ra­zor­backs 80-66 on Tues­day night in Reed Arena be­fore an an­nounced crowd of 8,761.

The Ag­gies started 9 of 10 from the field in the sec­ond half, in­clud­ing 7 of 8 on three-point­ers, to push their lead from 33-32 at half­time to 59-38 with 13:41 left.

The Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayet­teville (15-7, 4-5

SEC) didn’t pull closer than nine points the rest of the game.

“It’s hard com­ing back from down 20 points,” said senior guard Daryl Ma­con, who led the Ra­zor­backs with 20 points, 4 as­sists and 4 re­bounds. “Any time you get down like that, you’ve ba­si­cally got to have a mir­a­cle to come back.

“That’s not what we want to do, but we were put in that sit­u­a­tion tonight and tried to fight back, but we ran out of time.”

Fresh­man guard T.J. Starks led Texas A&M (14-8, 3-6 SEC) with 16 points, 5 as­sists and 4 re­bounds. Ju­nior cen­ter Tyler Davis had 15 points and 13 re­bounds.

Ag­gies ju­nior guard Ad­mon Gilder scored 13 points, sopho­more for­ward Robert Wil­liams had 10 points and seven re­bounds and ju­nior for­ward D.J. Hogg had 11 points.

Arkansas senior guard Jaylen Bar­ford had 19 points, 5 re­bounds and 4 as­sists and fresh­man for­ward Dar­i­ous Hall had 13 points, 7 re­bounds and 2 steals.

Davis opened the sec­ond half with a dunk.

Then the three-point bar­rage started for the Ag­gies.

Hogg hit one, then Starks, then Gilder. Hogg hit two more on five con­sec­u­tive pos­ses­sions to give the Ag­gies a 50-37 lead.

Back-to-back three-point­ers by Starks and a dunk by Wil­liams with an as­sist from

Starks put Texas A&M ahead 59-38.

“I thought that sec­ond half was prob­a­bly the best they’ve played,” Arkansas Coach Mike An­der­son said. “They had a lit­tle bit to do with it and we had a lit­tle bit to do with it.

“I thought our de­fense was not play­ing the brand we played early in the first half. Then in the sec­ond half we turned the ball over a cou­ple of times, and it’s kind of like a snow­ball ef­fect. They start scor­ing on the other end, and be­fore you know it, a lead that was one point all of a sud­den bal­loons up to dou­ble fig­ures.”

Hall said the Ra­zor­backs broke down de­fen­sively dur­ing Texas A&M’s 26-6 run af­ter half­time.

“We weren’t locked in com­ing out for the sec­ond half,” Hall said. “We’ve just got to do bet­ter, come out and be ready.

“Af­ter the first me­dia time­out, we got in the hud­dle and told ev­ery­body we’ve got to lock [down], but they stayed on fire. We’ve just got to get up in them and make them drive.”

Hogg had been 1 of 13 on three-point­ers in the pre­vi­ous three games and was 0 of 2 in sec­ond half be­fore hit­ting three in a row in a 2:33 span.

“Hogg is too good of a player,” An­der­son said. “He’s even­tu­ally go­ing to make some.

“A cou­ple times we had some missed as­sign­ments, and one thing about a shooter, if you let him get go­ing, he’s very ca­pa­ble of do­ing that.

“A lot of guys shoot right at the three-point line. His were prob­a­bly 4 or 5 feet away from the three-point line.”

The Ag­gies shot 15 of 25 from the field (60 per­cent) in the sec­ond half.

“We haven’t seen that in a long time,” Texas A&M Coach Billy Kennedy said. “It was good to see the ball go in.”

Arkansas’ in­side play­ers — Daniel Gaf­ford, Dustin Thomas, Trey Thomp­son and Ar­lando Cook — com­bined for seven points.

“You can’t win on the road — you can’t win at home do­ing that,” An­der­son said. “You’ve got to have some guys give you some in­side pres­ence, and then you can get to the free throw line and get their guys in foul trou­ble.”

Arkansas shot 25 of 61 (41.0 per­cent) from the field, in­clud­ing 12 of 32 in the sec­ond half.

“We had some guys that were strug­gling on the of­fense end,” An­der­son said. “We were stag­nant against their zone, which is very strange.

“We’re a pretty good shoot­ing team. But when you don’t get any­thing out of the for­wards in­side, it puts a lot of pres­sure on the perime­ter, and they were able to con­cen­trate on the perime­ter guys.”

Arkansas pulled with 6657 on Ma­con’s three-poin­ter with 6:06 left.

Texas A&M re­sponded with a 12-2 run, in­clud­ing six points by Wil­liams, and moved ahead 78-59 with 1:27 left to put the Ra­zor­backs away for good.

“We didn’t get rat­tled,” Kennedy said. “They got more phys­i­cal, they trapped us, but I thought we stayed strong.

“We had good poise that last five or six min­utes, some­thing we haven’t al­ways had at times. I thought in this game we didn’t get frus­trated.”

The Ag­gies broke a three­game los­ing streak to Arkansas as they beat the Ra­zor­backs for the first time since a 92-69 vic­tory in 2015.

The teams play again Feb. 17 when the Ag­gies visit Wal­ton Arena.

Arkansas fell to 1-5 on the road. The Ra­zor­backs’ lone road vic­tory was at Ge­or­gia 80-77 in dou­ble over­time last week.

Texas A&M im­proved to 10-2 at home, where the Ag­gies’ losses are to Florida and LSU.

Hall scored on a layup with 31 sec­onds left in the first half to pull Arkansas within 33-32 at half­time.

The Ag­gies jumped out to a 5-2 lead on a bas­ket in­side by Davis and Starks’ three­p­oint bas­ket.

Af­ter Hall dunked to tie it 7-7, Starks hit a free throw for an 8-7 Ag­gies lead.

Arkansas scored the next 10 points, in­clud­ing two bas­kets by Hall and three-point­ers by Ma­con and Bar­ford, to take a 17-8 lead with 14:13 in the half.

The Ag­gies re­sponded with a 19-4 run, with Gilder scor­ing eight points, to move ahead 27-21.

Ma­con scored on a drive and hit three free throws af­ter he was fouled on a three­p­oint at­tempt by Wilson and Hall had an­other dunk to help the Ra­zor­backs cut their deficit to 31-30 with 1:14 left in the half.

Gilder’s layup put the Ag­gies ahead 33-30.

Cook made his first start of the sea­son. He started in place of sopho­more for­ward Adrio Bai­ley.

Cook be­came the ninth Ra­zor­back to get at least one start this sea­son.

The only Ra­zor­backs to start ev­ery game are Bar­ford and senior guard An­ton Beard.

Tues­day marked the 156th game be­tween Arkansas and Texas A&M. The Ra­zor­backs’ lead the se­ries 101-55.

Arkansas will play its third con­sec­u­tive road game when the Ra­zor­backs take on LSU at 2:30 p.m. Satur­day in Ba­ton Rouge.

“We’re a pretty good shoot­ing team. But when you don’t get any­thing out of the for­wards in­side, it puts a lot of pres­sure on the perime­ter, and they were able to con­cen­trate on the perime­ter guys.” Arkansas Coach Mike An­der­son on Tues­day’s loss to Texas A&M

AP/Col­lege Sta­tion Ea­gle/LAURA McKEN­ZIE

Texas A&M’s Tyler Davis (mid­dle) takes a shot over Arkansas’ Daniel Gaf­ford (10) and An­ton Beard dur­ing the Ag­gies’ 80-66 vic­tory over the Ra­zor­backs on Tues­day in Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas.

AP/Col­lege Sta­tion Ea­gle/LAURA McKEN­ZIE

Texas A&M’s Ad­mon Gilder (right) drib­bles the ball against the de­fense of Arkansas guard Dar­i­ous Hall dur­ing the Ag­gies’ 80-66 vic­tory over the Ra­zor­backs on Tues­day in Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas. Gilder fin­ished with 13 points and was one of five Ag­gies to score 10 or more points.

AP/Col­lege Sta­tion Ea­gle/LAURA McKEN­ZIE

Texas A&M’s Duane Wilson (13) looks for a path to the bas­ket against Arkansas’ Dustin Thomas dur­ing the Ag­gies’ vic­tory over the Ra­zor­backs in Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas.

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