COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M men’s basketball team is back in action at Reed Arena Friday night when it hosts old Southwest Conference rival Rice in an 8 p.m. contest.
The game will be televised on FSN-South with Dave Baker (play-by-play) and Daymeon Fishback (commentary) calling the action. Check with your cable provider for availability and channel listing or log on to ESPN3.com to watch a live stream. The game can also be heard on the Texas A&M Radio Network with local coverage in Bryan/College Station on WTAW (1620 AM).
In a big night of Aggie athletics at Reed Arena, the A&M volleyball team will face Tennessee at 4 p.m. inside the facility prior to tip-off of the basketball game against Rice. Fans with a ticket to the volleyball match will receive free admission to the men’s game.
Additionally, the first 200 students at the Rice game will receive a free aluminum Texas A&M water bottle.
Texas A&M has jumped out to a 2-0 start on the young season by notching home wins over Buffalo and Mississippi Valley State. Leading the way for the Aggies’ early season success has been junior forward Kourtney Roberson, who has produced a double-double in each game this season, highlighted by a career-best 25-point outing in the win over MVSU.
Additionally in the victory over the Delta Devils, A&M notched school record 12 blocked shots. After ranking last in the SEC in blocks per game a year ago, the improved athleticism of the Aggie roster has been on display in two games this season as they have tallied 17 blocks as a team to lead the conference.
The Owls come to Aggieland with a 1-1 record after splitting games against St. Thomas and Southeastern Louisiana to being the year. Sixth-year head coach Ben Braun leads the Rice basketball program after previous coaching stints at Cal and Eastern Michigan.
• Texas A&M puts its 2-0 record on the line Friday night when it hosts Rice in a non-conference tilt at Reed Arena.
• The Aggies will be looking to gain a measure of revenge against the Owls, who defeated the Aggies during the last meeting between the schools on Dec. 22, 2011, which snapped a 67-game A&M winning streak against non-conference opponents on its home court.
• Only two players who are on the current Texas A&M roster, Jordan Green and Kourtney Roberson, played in the last meeting against Rice ... the contest two seasons ago holds even more unpleasant memories for Roberson, as he broke his ankle early in the contest and was forced to sit out the remainder of the 2011-12 season.
• Texas A&M and Rice are no strangers to one another on the hardwood as the schools have met 188 previous times, only Texas (222 meetings) and Baylor (205 meetings) have face the Aggies more times in men's basketball.
• The Aggies are 110-11 (.909) all-time in non-conference games inside Reed Arena, which hosted its first basketball game in the fall of 1998.
• Texas A&M's improved athleticism and attack style has been on display through two games this season as the Aggies rank third in the SEC by averaging 86.5 points per game ... A&M also ranks second in the league in both field goal percentage (.536) and field goal percentage defense (.310).
• The Aggies return three starters (Alex Caruso, Fabyon Harris and Kourtney Roberson) and six total letterwinners (Caruso, Jordan Green, Harris, Blake McDonald, J-Mychal Reese and Roberson) ... Overall, A&M returns 51.8 percent of its scoring output from the 2012-13 campaign, highlighted by second-leading scorer Fabyon Harris, who averaged 12.0 points per game a year ago.
• Head coach Billy Kennedy returns for his third season in Aggieland ... in his 16th overall season as a head coach, Kennedy owns a 245-212 (.536) career record ... The two-time Ohio Valley Coach of the Year has enjoyed success at previous head coaching positions at Murray State, Southeastern Louisiana and Centenary before taking his current position at A&M.
• Rice enters Friday's contest with a 1-1 record after opening the season with a win over St. Thomas and dropping a one-point game to Southeastern Louisiana in Houston 63-62 on Tuesday.
• The early season has three Owls averaging double-digit points with sophomore guard Max Guercy (13.0), freshman guard Marcus Jackson (12.0) and senior guard Austin Ramljak (10.5) all above 10 points per contest. Meanwhile, freshman forward Sean Obi paced the Owls with 14 rebounds on the year.
• The Owls are coming off a 5-26 season a year ago which saw them finish 12th in Conference USA with a 1-15 league mark.
• Head coach Ben Braun is in his sixth season at the helm of the Rice program and holds a 57-106 record at the school ... overall in 36 years as a head coach, including stops at Cal and Eastern Michigan, Braun is 609-495.
SERIES HISTORY RICE (A&M LEADS 106-82)
• Friday will mark the 189th time that old Southwest Conference foes Texas A&M & Rice square off on the hardwood and just the fifth since the SWC dissolved after the 1995-96 season.
• A&M head coach Billy Kennedy is 1-1 vs. the Owls during his career as a head coach ... during his first season as a head coach at Centenary in 1997-98, the Kennedy-led Gents defeated Rice 58-52 in Houston
• During the most recent meeting between the schools, Rice earned a 65-58 win over the Aggies inside Reed Arena on Dec. 22, 2011 ... the loss snapped a 67-game Texas A&M winning streak against non-conference foes on its home floor.
• 98 miles separate the teams' home courts.
A&M SIGNS METROPLEX STANDOUT ALEX ROBINSON
Head coach Billy Kennedy announced on Nov. 13 the signing of point guard Alex Robinson who will join the Aggie basketball program next fall in advance of the 2014-15 season.
Robinson is rated a four-star prospect by ESPN, rivals.com and scout.com which also lists him as the 10th best point guard and the 47th overall prospect nationally. Additionally, ESPN regards him as the eighth-best prospect in the state of Texas and the 13th highest-ranked point guard recruit in the country. Robinson, who is listed as 6-foot-1 and over 170 pounds, is currently in his senior season at Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, where he is a four-year starter for the Wolves.
A season ago, Robinson earned all-region honors from the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches as well as all-district accolades after averaging 17 points, six assists and three steals per contest as a junior.
The lefty point guard is described by many as being a tough and confident player with impressive passing skills and the ability to beat opponents off the drive.
Robinson was also recruited by Baylor, Florida State, Georgia, Houston, Marquette, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, SMU, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt and Virginia, among others.
AGGIES REVIVING THE ART OF THE BLOCKED SHOT
The improved athleticism of the Aggies was on display during Texas A&M's win over Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 11 as Texas A&M recorded a school-record 12 blocks.
Seven Aggies recorded at least one swat in the contest (Alex Caruso-3, Jamal Jones-2, Kourtney Roberson-2, Antwan Space-2, Davonte Fitzgerald-1, Fabyon Harris-1, Dylan Johns-1) as the total topped the previous record of 11 which has been set twice, most recently against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Sec. 21, 1997.
As a team, the Aggies ranked last in the SEC with 98 blocked shots (3.0 per game) last season. However, this season's new-look A&M team is beginning to change that trend and has already notched 17 blocks in just two games (8.5 per game), a figure that leads the SEC heading into Friday's contest.
AGGIE BASKETBALL SEASON TICKETS
An affordable option for the whole family, season tickets begin as low as $100 and feature new pricing options for men’s games. To order season tickets or to get more information, contact the 12th Man Foundation by phone at 888-992-4443 or online at www.12thManFoundation.com.
MOBILE LIVE STATS
Fans can access official live statistics on their mobile devices of all Texas A&M basketball home games and select road games by visiting tamustats.com
2013-14 TEXAS A&M MEN’S BASKETBALL MEDIA GUIDE
Fans can get a deeper look at the 2013-14 Aggie basketball team with this season’s media guide. The guide features in-depth player and coach profiles, a 2012-13 season in review, a look at this year’s opponents, program records and an overview of the history of Aggie basketball.