COLLEGE STATION No. 14-ranked Texas A&M opens its two-game exhibition schedule on Thursday when it plays host the Emporia State Hornets at 7 p.m. at Reed Arena.
A NCAA Division II team, the Hornets finished 21-7 last season and was
ranked as high as No. 7 nationally. ESU is in its seventh season under Coach David Moe, a former assistant coach at Texas Tech (1988-91) and Colorado (1993-2001).
Moe was a graduate assistant at Kansas in 1988 when the Jayhawks captured the national championship. First-Year A&M Head Coach Mark Turgeon was an assistant coach on that team.
At Wichita State, Turgeon¹s teams played the Hornets in exhibition games in each of the previous five seasons, building a 5-0 mark. A&M never has played Emporia State.
The Hornets are led by senior guard DeAndre Townsend (5-8), who averaged 17.2 points last season and earned first-team all-conference honors. Senior guard Wes Book (6-4) added 13.6 points per game.
The Aggies return three starters and 10 lettermen from last year¹s team that went 27-7 overall, placed second in the Big 12 at 13-3 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Seniors Joseph Jones (6-9) and Dominique Kirk (6-4) have started in every game of their colleges careers. A preseason All-America candidate, Jones averaged 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds last season and ranks among the school¹s career leaders in points, rebounds, blocked shots and field goal percentage.
Kirk earned defensive All-America honors last year and averaged 7.2 points per contest. The other return starter is swingman Josh Carter (6-7), who led the nation in three-point accuracy at 50.0 percent and averaged 11.8 points.
Carter made a school-record 86 three-point field goals and is the Big 12
career leader in three-point percentage (.455).
The Aggies play Tarleton State in the final exhibition on Monday at 7 p.m.
at Reed Arena before opening the regular season at home against McNeese State on Nov. 9 (7 p.m.).