Aggies Look to Continue Winning Streak vs. MSU

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COLLEGE STATION – Aggie Basketball Game #28:
Mississippi State (12-14; 5-9 SEC) at #21 Texas A&M (20-7; 9-5 SEC)
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 · 6:00 p.m. (CT)
Reed Arena (12,989) · College Station, Texas

TV: ESPN2 (For more info – 12thMan.com/TV)
Joe Tessitore, Play-by-Play
Sean Farnham, Commentary

RADIO: Texas A&M Radio Network
Dave South, Play-by-Play
Al Pulliam, Commentary
Local: WTAW 1620 AM (Bryan/College Station)
Satellite: Sirius (Ch. 93) / XM (Ch. 190)

LIVE AUDIO/STATS: 12thMan.com
LIVE MOBILE LIVE STATS: tamustats.com
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Fresh off their fourth victory over a ranked opponent this season, No. 21 Texas A&M will aim for a third straight win Wednesday inside Reed Arena when the Aggies host Mississippi State at 6 p.m.

The SEC showdown will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with Joe Tessitore calling the play-by-play action and Sean Farnham providing color commentary. Additionally, radio coverage will be provided on the Aggie Sports Network, which can be heard locally in the Bryan/College Station area on WTAW (1620 AM).

Entering the home stretch of the race for the SEC title, the Aggies (20-7; 9-5 SEC) are within a single game of first-place Kentucky (10-5 SEC) in the conference standings, owning a tie for second place alongside LSU and South Carolina.

Texas A&M is riding the momentum of back-to-back wins on their home court last week, defeating Ole Miss and No. 14 Kentucky to improve to 15-1 inside the friendly confines of Reed Arena this season.

During Saturday’s upset victory over the Wildcats, Tyler Davis’ ninth offensive rebound of the game provided one of the highlights of the Aggie Hoops calendar as his last-second putback was the deciding basket in a 79-77 overtime victory, A&M’s fourth over a ranked opponent this season.

Davis finished with 15 points and a game-high 12 boards against UK to notch his second career double-double. Senior Jalen Jones was also an important piece of A&M’s winning puzzle as the Dallas native scored 24 points to produce his 10th game of 20 or more points during the 2015-16 campaign.

The Bulldogs (12-14; 5-9 SEC), meanwhile, are also riding a two-game winning streak of their own, having defeated Vanderbilt in Starkville last Tuesday before earning a 67-61 road win at Alabama Saturday.

MSU features four players who average double-digit points on the season, led by senior Gavin Ware who ranks 12th in the SEC by scoring 15.9 points per game for first-year Bulldog head coach Ben Howland.

REED ARENA PARKING INFO
With the larger crowds at Reed Arena this season, fans are reminded that pregame and postgame traffic around Reed Arena may be more congested than it has been in the recent past and they should plan to arrive early for the game.

Additionally, Wednesday’s baseball game at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park will add to traffic in the area around Reed Arena.

Fans are encouraged to visit http://transport.tamu.edu/parking/events/da.aspx or download the Destination Aggieland App for the best information on campus traffic as well as the best routes to and from Reed Arena.

OPENING TIPS
• Texas A&M looks to stay within striking distance of first place in the SEC standings when the Aggies (20-7; 9-5 SEC) host Mississippi State (12-14; 5-9 SEC) ... The Aggies are 15-1 on their home court this season.
• During the season's first meeting with the Bulldogs, Jan. 6 in Starkville, Texas A&M earned a 61-60 win despite shooting a season-low 30.6 percent from the floor (19-of-62). After falling behind by as many as nine points early in the contest, A&M used an 11-1 run to take a 22-21 lead at the 2:15 mark of the opening period ... Coming up big in the clutch, senior Alex Caruso and freshman Admon Gilder each made a pair of free throws on one-and-one opportunities in the game's final 1:02 to help seal the victory.
• Freshman D.J. Hogg fell just short of his first career double-double against MSU, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds. Caruso, meanwhile, dished out a game-high eight assists while committing just one turnover.
• Saturday's win over No. 14 Kentucky was the Aggies' fourth victory over a ranked opponent in five contests against top-25 foes this season.
• Already A&M's all-time steals leader with 258 career take-aways, Caruso is approaching another top spot in program history as he enters the MSU game with 594 career assists ... His assist total trails only David Edwards, who dished out 602 dimes for the Maroon & White from 1991-94.

SERIES HISTORY VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE (A&M LEADS 5-3)
• Wednesday will be the ninth all-time meeting between the Aggies and Bulldogs on the hardwood and the sixth as SEC competitors ... It will also mark MSU’s third visit to College Station.
• Earlier this season, Texas A&M escaped with a 61-60 at MSU on Jan 6 ... Four Aggies reached double-digit scoring with Alex Caruso, D.J. Hogg and Jalen Jones leading the way with 11 points apiece.
• Two of the last five meetings in the series have gone into overtime with each team claiming a victory.
• Prior to the Aggies joining the SEC, Texas A&M last faced Mississippi State at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 17, 2011, during the 2K Sports Classic ... MSU earned a 69-60 victory ... Current Aggie associate head coach Rick Stansbury was the head coach of the Bulldogs during the contest.
• Aggie head coach Billy Kennedy is 4-7 against the Bulldogs, while MSU's Ben Howland is 2-1 against A&M with both wins coming while Howland was the head coach at UCLA (2004-13).

TEXAS A&M-MISSISSIPPI STATE CONNECTIONS
• A&M's Rick Stansbury - The A&M associate head coaches' ties to the Bulldog basketball program run deep ... Stansbury spent 22 seasons at MSU, including the last 14 as head coach (1999-2012), where he compiled a 293-166 (.638) record while guiding the Bulldogs to the postseason 11 times, including six NCAA appearances ... He stands out as the all-time coaching wins leader at Mississippi State and ninth-winningest coach in the history of the SEC.

UP NEXT
The Aggies hit the road for Columbia, Mo., where they will face Missouri inside Mizzou Arena at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon … The game is slated for TV coverage on ESPNU.

TEXAS A&M VS. RANKED TEAMS THIS SEASON
Texas A&M has faced five ranked teams this season, owning a 4-1 in those contests. Three of the victories have come inside Reed Arena while Nov. 26th's victory over then 10th-ranked Gonzaga came in the Bahamas during the Battle4Atlantis.

AGGIES VS. RANKED TEAMS (AP ranking at time of game)
Date Opponent Score Leading Scorer
Nov. 26 #16 Gonzaga (Bahamas) W, 62-61 House (19)
Dec. 19 #16 Baylor W, 80-61 House, Jones (17)
Jan. 31 #14 Iowa State W, 72-62 House (20)
Feb. 6 #25 South Carolina L, 81-78 Caruso, House (16)
Feb. 20 #14 Kentucky W, 79-77 (OT) Jones (24)

CARUSO OWNS SCHOOL RECORD FOR STEALS; APPROACHING ASSISTS RECORD
With a first period steal against Arkansas on Jan. 2, Caruso passed David Edwards on Aggie basketball's list of all-time steals to become A&M's career leader. The College Station native now has 258 career take-aways.

Additionally, Caruso notched his 500th career assist during the Dec. 12th win over Kansas State. Caruso currently has 594 assists during his A&M career to rank second in school history behind only David Edwards (1991-94) who owns first place with 602 career assists.

Texas A&M All-Time Steals
Rk Player Years Career Stl
1. Alex Caruso 2012-Present 259
2. David Edwards 1991-94 228
3. Todd Holloway 1983-87 208

Texas A&M All-Time Assists
Rk Player Years Career Assists
1. David Edwards 1991-94 602
2. Alex Caruso 2012-Present 594
3. Bernard King 1999-03 550

AGGIE HOOPS HITS 20 WINS FOR THE NINTH TIME IN 12 YEARS
A 79-77 overtime victory over No. 14 Kentucky on Feb. 20 stood out as the team's 20th win this season.

The 20-win season is the 15th in program history and ninth in the last 12 seasons. Additionally, it stands out as the sixth 20-win campaign in Billy Kennedy's head coaching career.