Aggies torch Hogs in 2nd half
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
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.
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.
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.