COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Jamal Jones led Texas A&M with 16 points as the Aggies defeated Texas-Pan American 63-46 Saturday.
A&M led by five midway through the second half before closing with a 14-2 run.
Shawn Smith's 3-pointer with 4:09 remaining gave the Aggies (9-4) an 11-point lead and Jones' dunk on a fast break with 3:22 left made it a 59-44 lead.
Alex Caruso chipped in 13 points and a game-high six assists, four steals and three blocks for the Aggies, while Justin Leathers led the Broncs with 13 points.
A&M rebounded from a 61-41 home loss to North Texas on New Year's Eve. The Broncs, under first-year coach Dan Hipsher, dropped their eighth consecutive contest.
A&M opens its Southeastern Conference slate Wednesday at home against Arkansas. UTPA (4-12) play host to Idaho Thursday in their second Western Athletic Conference contest.
TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
● Texas A&M improved to 9-4 on the season with the 63-46 win over UTPA at Reed Arena Saturday afternoon … The Aggies are 9-1 on their home court this season.
● Additionally, A&M improved to 117-12 (.907) all-time in non-conference games inside Reed Arena.
● The all-time series between the two schools now stands at 4-1 in favor of Texas A&M, which has won the last two meetings.
● Texas A&M enjoyed a solid 39-28 advantage on the boards during the victory … The plus-11 rebounding margin was the Aggies’ highest of the season.
● The edge on the boards led to a 13-3 advantage for the Aggies in second chance points.
● A&M collected seven blocked shots in the contest to record its sixth game of seven or more blocks this season and bring its total through 13 games up to 72 … A year ago, the Aggies had just 98 blocks the entire season.
● The Maroon & White used the starting line-up combination of Alex Caruso, Jordan Green, Fabyon Harris, Jamal Jones and Kourtney Roberson for the first time this season.
● The Aggies, powered by a 13-0 run late in the first half, took a 35-26 lead into the intermission.
● Sophomore Alex Caruso turned in a solid all-around performance vs the Broncs, finishing with 13 points, six assists, four steals, three rebounds and three blocks during a season-high 35 minutes.
● Junior Jamal Jones paced the Aggies in scoring for the fourth time this season, finishing with a game-high 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
● Senior Fabyon Harris drew his first start of the year and responded with 10 points.
● Junior Kourtney Roberson pulled down 10 boards to lead the Aggies and reach double digits in rebounding for the 15th time during his career … However, the Arcadia, La., native did not record a point for just the fifth time in 88 career games.
● A&M head coach Billy Kennedy is now 41-37 in his third season at Texas A&M and 252-216 in 16 years as a head coach.
● Southeastern Conference play is on tap for the Texas A&M men's basketball team next week when it renews rivalries with former Southwest Conference foe Arkansas … The Aggies and Razorbacks will square off inside Reed Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 8, during an 8 p.m. contest that will be televised by FSN.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH BILLY KENNEDY
“Obviously, it is good to get back into the win column, I thought we started the game off well and attacked the zone moving the ball being aggressive making some early shots. I thought Shawn Smith and Davonte Fitzgerald, two freshmen, came in and gave us some good minutes. Alex (Caruso) continues to share the ball and he had an outstanding game.”
On Fabyon being back in starting lineup:
“I look at our team from last year and we had one guy returning that averaged double figure scoring in Division I basketball and that was Fabyon. I have to put him on the floor to see if he can speed the tempo of the game for us offensively. Getting him on the floor helped up and he was excited to start again for us. He is getting his confidence back and hopefully he can start making shots for us again.”
On the play that led to A&M pulling away from UTPA:
“Shawn (Smith) really busted out with the ball and Jamal (Jones) really ran the floor well getting us an easy basket. That really jump started us tonight and we need more plays like that to lead to easy baskets. Those are the kind of plays we have not been getting the last couple games.”
Key to the 17-3 run to end the game:
“We got some transition baskets with Fabyon (Harris) and Shawn (Smith) pushing the ball in transition. They started to press themselves taking some quick shots.”
One shortening the bench tonight:
“The eight guys we played today are the guys that have been the most consistent this year. We are going to need all the guys on the roster heading into conference play, we will start playing all 10 scholarship guys when we play teams with two big guys.”
UTPA HEAD COACH DAN HISPHER
“We knew that A&M had been struggling from the 3-point line and to make shots overall. So we came in with a game plan to play zone, but we knew the difficulty in that would be getting rebounds. Their 14 offensive rebounds on 30 missed shots was a factor in the game today. To try to play man against that size and strength would have been difficult for us and I don’t know if the rebounding would have been anything different. We have to make shots and we knew we would not be getting anything inside against that team. We moved the ball around and took a few too many 3s today. They did a great job on Javorn (Farrell) tonight and it became a real tough night for him.”
On A&M’s run to end the game
“Once it got over 11 or so then we got into emergency mode and it started to snowball after that. It was offensive rebounding and transition after a couple quick shots that gave A&M the edge. We knew transition was a big part of the game and tried to keep them out of it, but it was still a big part with A&M’s 13 fast break points.”