Preview: Auburn at Texas A&M
No. 12 Auburn goes after its first true road victory of the season Wednesday night when the Tigers pay a visit to Texas A&M, which is coming off one of its best performances of the campaign. Auburn has dropped road contests to North Carolina State and Ole Miss within the last month, but will try to break that string by snapping a three-game losing streak against the Aggies in the SEC battle.
“I think, for us, we want to go on the road and play better,” Tigers coach Bruce Pearl told the Auburn Plainsman. “We want to handle the ball better and not turn the ball over as much. We’re going to play with the same effort, energy and confidence that we do at home. From that standpoint, it’s a great opportunity for us.” The Tigers seek to gain some momentum from Saturday’s 93-78 victory over Georgia at home, in which they shot 50 percent from the field and made 12-of-25 from 3-point range, while Texas A&M rallied from an 11-point deficit to win at Alabama 81-80 on the same day. “Hopefully, this (victory) gives us some energy and confidence,” Aggies coach Billy Kennedy told reporters after his team registered just three turnovers. Sophomore guard T.J. Starks leads Texas A&M in scoring (14.4) and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to decide Saturday’s contest, but must rebound from a 4-for-17 shooting performance against the Crimson Tide.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT AUBURN (12-3, 1-1 SEC): Senior guard Bryce Brown is averaging 18.7 points over the last three games to improve his season mark to a team-high 15.8 with a team-best 51 makes from behind the arc. Junior guard Jared Harper had 22 points and dished out seven assists against Georgia to push his season totals to 15.0 and 6.7 (first in the SEC), respectively, and junior center Austin Wiley also scores in double figures (11.3). Sophomore forward Chuma Okeke managed just nine points in the past two games combined, but is averaging 9.9 overall to go along with 6.1 rebounds per contest.
ABOUT TEXAS A&M (7-7, 1-2): Sophomore guard Savion Flagg is the only other player in double figures scoring (12.9) for the Aggies and he is averaging 16.5 over the last four games while leading the team at 8.2 rebounds per contest overall. Junior forward Josh Nebo (8.0 points per game) stepped up by scoring a season-high 21 on 10-of-12 from the field to go along with seven rebounds and four blocks against Alabama. Junior guard Wendell Mitchell, who added 18 points versus Alabama, and senior forward Christian Mekowulu (53.1 percent from the field overall) both average 9.5 points per game.
1. Texas A&M sophomore G Jay Jay Chandler scored 18 in the loss to Kentucky on Jan. 8, but was held to four by Alabama.
2. Auburn senior G Malik Dunbar is averaging 11 points on 12-of-21 from the field over the last three games.
3. The Tigers are first in the SEC in offensive rebounds per game (15.5) and the Aggies are second (12.8).