Texas A&M opens SEC play by beating Arkansas 69-51

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COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Kourtney Roberson had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the first double-double of his career as Texas A&M defeated Arkansas 69-51 on Wednesday night.

Fabyon Harris scored 17 points to lead the Aggies (11-3, 1-0 SEC), who took control with a 15-0 run that began late in the first half and extended into the second. It was the first SEC game for A&M and its first conference game against the Razorbacks since 1991, when both schools belonged to the now-defunct Southwest Conference.

B.J. Young had 13 points for Arkansas (9-5, 0-1), which had a five-game winning streak snapped. The Razorbacks dropped to 0-4 on the road, extending their SEC road misery that stretches back to last season, when they were 1-7 away from home in the conference.

Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Kennedy
Opening statement:
“I’m really proud of our guys for competing and getting better in the two areas we needed to get better in. We took care of the ball, we had only 10 turnovers, and we outrebounded them 51 to 27. The 19 offensive rebounds were a big key to us winning the game. Our defense on (BJ) Young and (Marshawn) Powell was as good as it needed to be to get us the win.”

Did you see this coming?
“No. I knew we had it in us. Against Houston we played with that kind of aggressiveness and effort. We started the game out, got some transition baskets, and ran better. Being a conference game our guys raised their level of play up. You’d like to have that every very night but we’re still a work in progress. Hopefully, we can build off it from here.”

On getting a win in the first SEC game:
“It’s great. You guys know the opponents we have coming up in the next few games. You have to win your home games in order to compete and get to postseason play.”

On defending Arkansas’ Marshawn Powell:
“First of all, we did a real good job when he or Young had the ball. We got in the gaps, got early help and made others beat us. He’s really a good player.”

On the win giving momentum heading into Kentucky:
“Hopefully, it will help a whole lot. We’re going to enjoy this one tonight and start preparing for Kentucky. We have already been doing that actually. It’s a tough spot, defending National Champions, a very talented team that’s getting better. But we’ll enjoy this one tonight.”

Texas A&M Forward Kourtney Roberson
On his night:
“On the first play of the game I scored, and I saw how they were guarding me. I knew (after that) I had to go get every rebound I could.”

On the rebounding margin:
“We’ve been working on rebounding all week. It’s something that just carried on into the game. We want to win the rebounding matchup by plus-5 but we got more than that. We have to keep rebounding hard every game.”

On his rebounding night (12 boards):
“I kept telling everyone all week I had zero rebounds (in the last game). I told them today would be the day I would get double-digit rebounds so I had to go out and do it.”

Texas A&M Guard Fabyon Harris
On whether this was the team’s best game of the year:
“Yes, but we can play better. We came into the game knowing that if we came out and played hard and together and rebounded like Kourtney was doing we’d come out and win the game.”

On getting the first SEC win:
“It’s very big. We knew if we played hard we’d get the win. It was a very big win.”

Arkansas Head Coach Mike Anderson
Opening statement:
“For an opening game I thought A&M probably wanted it more than we did. It’s their first SEC game and it was reflected in the hustle plays. They won on the hustle plays tonight. That’s what we’re a team of, a team that scraps, claws and gets after it. Their physicality was very evident in the game tonight. When you come on the road you have to shoot the ball well, and we didn’t and it showed--even on free throw line. Congrats to them. It’s a learning lesson for our young basketball team.”

On the rebounding:
“It was very disappointing. It was all we talked about. I’m just kind of mystified we didn’t bring it to the game. It’s something we’ll address. Rebounding has to do with effort.”

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