COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The Texas A&M men’s basketball team begins its inaugural run thought the Southeastern Conference on Wednesday night when the Aggies host Arkansas inside Reed Arena at 8 p.m.
The contest will be televised nationally on ESNPU with Dari Nowkhah (play-by-play) and Dino Gaudio (commentary) calling all the action. Additionally, the game can be heard on the Aggie Radio Network (1620 AM locally in Bryan/College Station) as well as streamed online at AggieAthletics.com.
Texas A&M (10-3) will be looking to start off league play on a winning note as well as claim a third consecutive victory after defeating Houston Baptist 67-59 at Reed Arena on Jan. 3 during its last outing.
The HBU win featured a game-high 17 points from senior guard Elston Turner, who is in the midst of an impressive run of scoring constancy to begin the 2012-13 campaign. The Sacramento, Calif., native leads the Aggies in scoring with 15.5 points per game after reaching double figures in each game this season to give him 10 or more points in 36 of 45 games wearing an A&M uniform.
In addition to Elston, teammate Ray Turner has begun to ratchet up his level of play heading into league action. The 6-foot-9 forward paces the Aggies in rebounding with 86 on the year while also contributing 12 points per contest.
Junior guard Fabyon Harris has also been a solid scoring option for the Aggies during his first season in the program after transferring from the College of Southern Idaho. The Chicago native scored 11 points against HBU to give him seven games of double-figure scoring this season.
Wednesday will not only be the first SEC contest for the Aggies but it will mark a reunion with former Southwest Conference running-mate Arkansas. The two schools shared a spot in the SWC from 1915-1991 when the Razorbacks joined the SEC.
The two schools have faced off 147 previous times on the hardwood during the series, which dates back to the 1923-24 season. Most recently, the two schools met up on Dec. 18, 2010, at Dallas' American Airlines Center ... The 71-62 overtime victory by the Aggies marked the first meeting between the two schools since the break-up of the SWC.
Arkansas (9-4) comes to Aggieland riding a five-game winning streak after earning an 86-51 victory over Delaware State in Fayetteville on Saturday.
The Razorbacks are led by second-year head coach Mike Anderson who returned to Arkansas, where he was an assistant coach from 1985-2002 after successful head coaching stints at UAB and Missouri. A&M fans will also recognize another familiar face on the Hogs’ bench as former A&M head coach Melvin Watkins serves as associate head coach.
On the court, Arkansas is highlighted by sophomore guard B.J. Young, who garnered preseason First Team All-SEC honors by the league’s coaches and ranks third in the SEC in scoring with a 17.7 point per game average.
Junior forward Marshawn Powell leads the Razorbacks in rebounding with an average of 5.6 points per contest while chipping in 15.2 points per game.
HALF-PRICE HOLIDAY HOOPS
Wednesday will be the final chance to catch a great deal and take advantage of our Half-Price Holiday Hoops promotion.
In addition to the men’s contest against Arkansas, the A&M women’s game against Auburn on Jan. 13 is also part of the promotion.
Visit the Reed Arena box office, the 12th Man Foundation's Ticket Center or call 1-(888)-992-4443 to purchase tickets or get more information.
• The Aggies begin their inaugural run through the Southeastern Conference on Wednesday when they host Arkansas at Reed Arena ... Texas A&M is 4-2 during conference openers the last six seasons.
• On the offensive end, the A&M shooters have been proficient and rank fourth in SEC with a .460 team shooting percentage ... The Aggies have shot over 45 percent in seven of 13 games and have cracked the 50 percent mark four times.
• As a team, the Aggies lead the conference with a .387 team 3-point percentage.
• A&M senior guard Elston Turner enters Wednesday's contest second the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting an impressive .429 from long range ... the Sacramento, Calif., native leads the Aggies and ranks 10th in the league in scoring at 15.5 points per game.
• Turner will be looking to continue a trend of scoring consistency during which he has reached double-digit totals in points each game this season including a pair of career-high setting 26-point performances, most recently on Dec. 1 during a victory at Houston.
• The Aggie defense has also been solid this season, holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting seven times and under 35 percent from the floor on three occasions ... Texas A&M ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring defense, holding its opponents to a combined 59.2 points per game this season.
• Wednesday's game is the final contest of A&M's "Half-Price Holiday Hoops" promotion and fans can purchase discounted tickets for the game at the Reed Arena Box Office or by contacting the 12th Man Foundation at (888) 992-4443 or on-line at http://www.12thmanfoundation.com/ticket-center.aspx
UP NEXT AFTER THE ARKANSAS GAME
Following the Arkansas contest, the Aggies will take the road for the first time in league play when they travel to Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., to face defending National Champion Kentucky on Saturday ... The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
A&M ENJOYING FIRST-YEAR SEC SUCCESS
• Football - The Aggies' inaugural run through the SEC on the gridiron culminated in an 11-2 record that featured a victory over top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and 41-13 win over Oklahoma in the 77th Annual AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.
• Volleyball - Under the direction of head coach Laurie Corbelli, Texas A&M volleyball won the SEC Western Division title with a 25-5 overall record and a 16-4 conference mark. The team reached the NCAA second round of the NCAA Tournament before bowing out to eventual National Champion Texas.
• Women's Soccer - The Aggies success continued onto the pitch as head coach G Guerrieri guided the women's soccer team to a 19-4-1 record that featured in a 10-2-1 record in league play which netted A&M the SEC Western Division crown.
• Men's Cross Country - Texas A&M senior Henry Lelei become the school's first individual champion in the Southeastern Conference when he claimed the men's cross country title with a time of 23:29.95 at Percy Warner Park. Lelei was named SEC Runner of the Year and USTFCCCA Men's Athlete of the Year en route to finishing fifth at the NCAA Championship.
TEXAS A&M-ARKANSAS CONNECTIONS
• A&M's Glynn Cyprien - The A&M associate head coach worked in Fayetteville as an assistant coach to Stan Heath during the 2006-07 campaign.
• A&M's Billy Kennedy - Texas A&M's head coach served as an assistant coach at Texas A&M during the 1990-91 season under Kermit Davis. His final game as an Aggie assistant was a 108-61 loss to the Razorbacks on March 8 during the Southwest Conference Tournament.
• Arkansas' Melvin Watkins - The Razorback assistant served as the 18th head coach in Texas A&M men's basketball history from 1998-2004 ... In four seasons on the Aggie bench, Watkins compiled a 60-112 (.349) record.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
• Billy Kennedy was named the 21st coach in Texas A&M men’s basketball history on May 16, 2011 ... he is a native of New Orleans and has spent 14 seasons as a head coach, with a record of 235-200 ... over the last three seasons, his teams have combined to post a record of 78-35.
• Over his last eight years as a head coach, Kennedy’s teams have averaged 20 wins a season, earned four conference titles and made three trips to the postseason—two to the NCAA Tournament and one in the NIT ... in addition, the Murray State squad which he built before heading to College Station finished the 2012 season 31-2, won the Ohio Valley title at 15-1 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
• Kennedy’s veteran staff in Aggieland has a combined 94 years of collegiate coaching experience and over the last 11 years has been a part of 18 conference titles and 22 postseasons (15 NCAA, 7 NIT).
REED ARENA SUCCESS
• A&M is 65-13 at Reed Arena since the start of the 2008-09 season with a 22-11 mark in conference games.
• The Aggies are 99-18 (.846) at home since the start of the 2006-07 season and are 132-23 (.852) since the start of the 2004-05 campaign.
• A&M has won 47 of its last 53 home games against unranked opponents (15 of last 19 in conference play).
• A&M is 173-64 (.730) in 14 seasons at Reed Arena ... the Aggies were 41-41 the first six years at Reed and are 132-23 since.
• Texas A&M finished 8-1 in non-conference games at Reed Arena this season ... a loss to Southern on Dec. 22 snapped a seven-game winning streak against non-conference foes at Reed.
• The Aggies are 108-11 (.908) all-time in non-conference games inside the facility, which hosted its first basketball game in the fall of 1998 ... a loss to Rice on Dec. 22, 2011, snapped A&M's 67-game non-conference home win streak at Reed Arena (which dated back to the start of the 2005-06 season) and 80-game regular-season, non-conference home win streak (which dated back to 2003), both school records.