COLLEGE STATION, Texas — For the first time this season, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team will play a true road game as it battles Houston at 5:30 p.m. Saturday inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
The contest will be televised by FSN-South with Ron Thulin, Mike Gminski and Jenn Hildreth calling all the action from the Bayou City.
Texas A&M enters the contest with a 5-1 record after downing Northwestern State 78-65 on Monday during its last outing. The Aggies shot a season-best .561 (32-of-57) against the Demons, led by a balanced scoring attack that featured four players in double figures - Elston Turner (17 points), J'Mychal Reese (15), Fabyon Harris (11) and Ray Turner (10).
The Aggie defense, meanwhile, was stifling against NSU as it held the high-scoring Demons, who entered the contest averaging just under 94 points per game, to a season-low 32.3 percent shooting for the night (20-of -62).
Houston, meanwhile, enters the weekend with an identical 5-1 record after suffering its first loss of the season Wednesday at Prairie View A&M by a score of 81-80. The core of the Cougars is young as they started all underclassmen against the Panthers, led by sophomore TaShawn Thomas who averages a double-double on the season with 18.3 and 11.7 rebounds per contest.
Houston and Texas A&M have a long history on the hardwood as the two schools have squared off 83 times with the Cougars holding a 53-30 edge in the all-time series. The last meeting between the two programs came on Dec. 29, 2004, when the Aggies led by then-head coach Billy Gillispie defeated the Cougars 93-80 at Reed Arena.
UH head coach James Dickey, who is in his third season guiding the Cougars, is also no stranger to Texas A&M as he coached against the Aggies 22 times while serving as the head coach of Texas Tech from 1991-2001.
• For the first time this season, Texas A&M will leave Aggieland for a true road game as it travels to Hofheinz Pavilion to face Houston ... The two programs, long-time members of the Southwest Conference, are very familiar with one another having faced off on the hardwood 83 times prior to Saturday.
• Coming off a 78-65 victory over Northwestern State during their last outing, Elston Turner's 17 points led the Aggies in scoring to mark the 15th time he's finished as A&M's leading scoring in a game ... also in the win, freshman Alex Caruso distributed a career-best six assists in the win, while J'Mychal Reese and Elston Turner each contributed four.
• Texas A&M has displayed impressive ball movement this season and been credited with 92 assists on 147 made field goals.
• The Aggies sit second in the Southeastern Conference in both free throw and 3-point shooting percentages ... from the charity stripe the Aggies are converting over 71 percent of their attempts while hitting shots from long distance at a .400 clip, led by Elston Turner, who ranks fifth in the league by making 45 percent of this attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.
HOUSTON GAME TIME SET FOR 5:30 PM
The start time for the Texas A&M men’s basketball team’s contest at Houston on Dec. 1 has been moved to 5:30 p.m. to accommodate television coverage.
The game is slated to be televised on FSN as the Aggies travel to Hofheinz Pavilion for the first time since 2003.
The two schools, long-time league mates in the Southwest Conference, have met 83 times on the hardwood in program history with the Cougars owning a 53-30 edge in the all-time series. The two teams faced each other annually from the 1974-75 season through the 1995-96 campaign as SWC rivals.
• Houston enters Saturday's contest 5-1 on the season after suffering its first lost of the season on Wednesday during a 81-80 setback at Prairie View A&M ... overall on the season, UH is outscoring its opponents by a margin of 15.8 points per game.
• The core of the UH squad is young as the Cougars started all underclassmen during the PVAMU contest, playing a combined average of 28.4 minutes per player.
• Sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas leads UH in scoring and rebounding, averaging a double-double at 18.3 points and 11.7 rebounds per contest ... sophomore Joseph Young contributes 15.2 points per contest while freshmen Jherrod Stiggers and Danuel House also average double-digit points at 13.3 and 11.5, respectively.
• Third-year head coach James Dickey is 32-34 during his tenure at Houston and 185-168 in 13 years as a head coach ... Dickey is no stranger to Texas A&M as he faced off against the Aggies 22 times while serving as the head coach at Texas Tech from 1991-2001.
JAHN’S INCREASED ROLE
Senior Jarod Jahns has long been recognized as a hard-worker and consummate teammate, but the Houston native has seen an increased role the last two games for the Aggies.
Jahns, who earned a spot on the team after a walk-on try-out prior to the 2010-11 season, played in just 12 games prior to this season but has seen action in four of the Aggies six games this year. Particularly during Texas A&M's two games in Kansas City, Jahns saw an increased workload which begain on Nov. 19 vs. Saint Louis. Against the Billikans, Jahns set then personal-highs in minutes played (8), points (6), rebounds (2) and assists (1), but it was just a prelude to his next career-game which would come less than 24 hours later.
Returning to the court at the Sprint Center against Washington State on Nov. 20, Jahns became the first reserve to come into contest when head coach Billy Kennedy called his number just four-and-a-half minutes into the contest. Jahns played a career-best 21 minutes vs. the Cougars contributing four points and a personal-best four rebounds, three of which came on the offensive glass.
TROCHA-MORELOS JOINS AGGIE BASKETBALL PROGRAM
The Texas A&M men's basketball program announced on Nov. 29 the signing of Tonny Trocha-Morelos, a highly-recruited center and native of Colombia.
A long and athletic post, Trocha-Morelos made a good impression over the summer when he played for the Colombian U18 Team at the FIBA Americas in Brazil, averaging 16 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest, both team-highs.
Additionally, Morelos played for Team Latin America at the ADIDAS Nations tournament where he led all players in blocked shots.
The 6-foot-10 center is a highly-prized prospect who received a four-star rating by Rivals.com and was recruited by Arizona, Baylor, Florida, Georgetown, Houston, Kentucky, Ohio State, Oregon, Providence, Texas Tech and UCLA, among others.
MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS HOUSTON STANDOUT
The Texas A&M men's basketball program announced on Nov. 21 the signing of Tavario Miller, a highly-rated forward from Houston to a National Letter of Intent.
The 6-foot-8 forward is currently a senior at Houston's Wheatly High School where he is off to an outstanding start, averaging 36 points and 20 rebounds early in the year. Miller was honored as a second-team preseason all-city selection by the Houston Chronicle in addition to garnering all-district and all-region accolades last spring after a standout junior campaign.
As a junior a season ago, Miller averaged 14.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game to help lead WHS to a 26-10 record and a playoff appearance.
Miller is described by coaches and analysis as a tough and athletic forward who is a great rebounder and shot blocker.
Named a three-star recruit by both ESPN and Rivals.com, Miller was selected as the 18th best prospect in the state of Texas and the 43rd best power forward nationally by ESPN. He chose to sign with Texas A&M over South Carolina and Tulsa, among others.
AGGIE HOOPS INKS ATLANTA AREA FORWARD
The Texas A&M men's basketball program announced on Nov. 14 the signing of Davonte Fitzgerald, a highly-rated forward from the Atlanta, Ga., metro area to a National Letter of Intent.
The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks as a junior a season ago at Tucker High School in Tucker, Ga., while earning first team all-region honors. The long, athletic wing scorer is described as similar to former A&M standout Khris Middleton, who enjoyed a successful three-year career in Aggieland before being picked by the Detroit Pistons in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Fitzgerald helped lead Tucker High School to a 23-6 overall record a season ago as the Tigers claimed the Region 6A-AAAA Championship and reached the second round of the state tournament.
Rated as three-star prospect by Rivals.com and ESPN, Fitzgerald choose A&M over Auburn, Central Florida, Charlotte, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Santa Clara and South Florida, among others.
ESPN.com named Fitzgerald as the 10th best prospect in Georgia and the 32nd best forward nationally, while Scout.com projected him as the 44th prospect in the country at the position.