Aggie men to tip off season Wednesday vs Savannah State

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texas A&M men’s basketball team is set to begin the 2018-19 season as it hosts Savannah State Wednesday night at Reed Arena, part of the Maroon Madness Tip-Off event. The Aggies are in search of their 18th straight season-opening victory as they host the Tigers for the second consecutive season.

Tickets for the season opener are can be purchased at the related link to this story. Fans are advised that parking costs $5 for all doubleheader gamedays but a men's basketball season parking pass allows entry to the parking lots for all games. Fans are encouraged to stay for both games with their purchased ticket, which serves as a general admission ticket to the non-purchased game.

SEASON TICKETS ON SALE NOW
An affordable, family entertainment option, season tickets for Aggie Basketball are available for as low as $100. Annual per seat contributions are required for some seating areas of Reed Arena. Buy season tickets today by calling 888-992-4443 or at www.12thMan.com/Tickets.

Texas A&M Quick Hits

• TJ Starks earned a spot on the Coaches Preseason All-SEC Second Team, announced by the league Tuesday.

• Admon Gilder is just three assists shy of becoming the 16th member of the Aggies' 250 career assists club.

• The Aggies are in search of their 18th consecutive season-opening victory Wednesday.

• Texas A&M welcomes nine newcomers this season, four freshmen and five transfers, as well as assistant coach Jeff Reynolds.

• This is the fifth time in the last six years the Aggies have faced a "48-hour" turnaround during regular season non-tournament style play. They have not dropped a game in this scenario.

• Gilder and classmate Chris Collins are the only returning scholarship student-athletes on the roster to have played more than one season at Texas A&M.

• Texas A&M is coming off of its second Sweet 16 appearance in three seasons, after earning its 14th NCAA Tournament bid.

• At least 60-percent of the Aggies' production in every stat category from the 2017-18 season was lost to graduation and the NBA Draft.

Series History

• Wednesday marks the third all-time meeting between the Tigers and Aggies, with the Aggies leading the series, 2-0.

• The two teams met last season as Texas A&M tallied its most lopsided victory of the year, 113-66.

• All five starters scored in double figures in last season’s win, while then-freshman TJ Starks added 12 points off the bench.

• All three meetings between the two teams have been in College Station.

• The first match up in the series was a 67-34 home win for the Aggies on Dec. 17, 2005.

Season Openers

• The Aggies are 49-23 all-time since 1945 in season openers.

• Texas A&M has claimed 17 consecutive season openers, including last season’s 88-65 win over then- No. 11 West Virginia in Germany.

• Last year’s opener was the first time through 17 straight seasons that the Aggies did not open the year at home.

• Texas A&M earned an 84-65 win over UCSB in its 2017-18 home opener to make it 17 straight home opening wins.

Reed Arena Success

• The Aggies finished the 2017-18 season 12-2 in Reed Arena, moving to 248-84 (.747) all-time through 20 seasons in their current home venue. They were 41-41 in the first six years at Reed and are 207-43 (.828) since.

• In the last five seasons, Texas A&M is 71-15 (.826) on its home floor.

• The Aggies have won 164 of their last 190 home games against unranked opponents.

• Texas A&M went 7-0 in non-conference games at Reed Arena last season, and is 152-14 all-time (.916) since hosting its first basketball game in 1998.

Quick Turnaround

• The Aggies host Savannah State in their season opener on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 p.m. and remain at home to host UC Irvine exactly 48 hours later, on Friday, Nov. 9.

• This is the fifth time in the last six seasons Texas A&M has experienced this short turnaround in non-tournament, non-conference play.

• The Aggies have made it back-to-back victories in each of the last four occurrences, including last season’s 81-65 home win over Pepperdine on Nov. 24, 2017, followed by a 75-59 victory over then-No. 10 USC on the road on Nov. 26.

Gilder Returns

• Senior Admon Gilder elected to return to Texas A&M for his senior season after testing the waters in the NBA Draft with three of his former teammates.

• Gilder was one of the most overlooked players in the SEC a season ago as he returns the most experience for the Aggies in his final go-around. He is the only returner to have started at least 50-percent of the team’s games in 2017-18.

• The Dallas, Texas, native shot a team-best 39.5-percent from beyond the arc last season and finished his junior campaign second on the team in scoring (12.3) and third in assists (77) in his second year as a starter for the Aggies.

Making His Mark

• Gilder notched his 1,000th career point in the SEC Tournament game against Alabama last season. He currently ranks 34th on the all-time list with 1,055 career points.

• After leading the Aggies with 37 steals, good for eighth in the SEC by season’s end, Gilder upped his career total to 131 takeaways, which ranks him 11th in the school’s record book.

• Gilder is just three assists away from becoming the 16th member of Texas A&M’s 250 assist club. He enters his final season with 247 helpers.

Starks' Strong Finish in Debut

• Sophomore TJ Starks came on strong late in his collegiate debut, earning a starting spot for the final 15 games of the season.

• Starks did not see the court against Missouri on Jan. 16, 2018, and the lack of action inspired the then-freshman, with his play eventually earning him a starting spot.

• The Dallas, Texas, native nearly doubled his minutes played after becoming a starter, tripling his points and assists per game averages.

• Starks is the only returner to have earned SEC postseason honors last season as he was named to the league’s All-Freshman Team.

Dominant Defenders

• The Aggies have added a pair of conference Defensive Player of the Year honorees in Division I transfers Christian Mekowulu and Josh Nebo.

• Mekowulu is a graduate transfer from Tennessee State, earning his degree in social sciences in the spring of 2018. He averaged 12.7 points and 7.9 rebounds, tallying 46 blocks in his senior season in the Ohio Valley Conference. He was a three-year starter for the Tigers.

• Nebo set a new all-time career blocks record at St. Francis (Pa.), swatting 144 shots in two season in the Northeast Conference. He set a single-season record with 89 blocks in his sophomore season, as he averaged 12.0 points and 8.2 rebounds. The Houston, Texas, native was forced to sit out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Aggie Basketball Game #1:
Savannah State (0-0) at Texas A&M (0-0)
Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 • 8:30 p.m. (CT)
Reed Arena (12,989) • College Station, Texas

TELEVISION: SEC Network Plus
Will Johnson, Play-by-Play
Tap Bentz, Commentary

RADIO: WTAW 1620 AM (Bryan-College Station)
Andrew Monaco, Play-by-Play
John Thornton, Commentary

SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius XM Ch. 384/Internet: 975
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: 12thman.com/live
LIVE MOBILE LIVE STATS: tamustats.com