Aggies face Arkansas in SEC opener

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COLLEGE STATION -- Aggie Basketball Game #12:
Texas A&M (6-5) vs Arkansas (9-3)
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 • 5 p.m. (CT)
Reed Arena (12,989) • College Station, Texas

Kevin Fitzgerald, Play-by-Play
Pat Bradley, Commentary

RADIO: Texas A&M Radio Network/1620 AM (Bryan-College Station)
Andrew Monaco, Play-by-Play
John Thornton, Commentary

SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius: 134/XM: 190/Internet: 961

The Texas A&M men's basketball team begins conference play Saturday against Arkansas. This is the fourth time since joining the SEC in 2012-13 that the two teams have opened league play against one another. A&M is looking to get back on track after snapping a five-game win streak a week ago, while Arkansas is chasing its third straight victory.

The game is part of the annual Holiday Hoops promotion, which features general admission tickets for $5 for adults and $3 for youth, available here. 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.

Texas A&M Quick Hits
• The Aggies are set to begin their seventh season of SEC play. They are 3-3 all-time in SEC openers with all three wins coming against Arkansas.
• Wendell Mitchell knocked down five threes to lead the Aggies against Texas Southern with 21 points.
• Savion Flagg had another balanced game against Texas Southern, returning to double-figure scoring for the first time in four games with 17 points.
• Christian Mekowulu closed out non-conference play strong averaging 16 and five over the last three games.
• TJ Starks' production has not slowed coming off the bench in the last two games, as he led the way with 17 points against Marshall and added 14 against Texas Southern.
• In four of the last five games, A&M has forced its opponent to shoot 35-percent or worse from the field.
• A&M saw seven different Aggies lead the team in scoring through eleven non-conference games to start the season.
• The Aggies notched a pair of milestones with the victory over South Alabama, as Coach Kennedy earned the 350th win of his career and the program reached 250 wins in Reed Arena.

Entering SEC Play
• The Aggies are entering their seventh season as a member of the SEC. A&M is 3-3 all-time in SEC openers and 66-52 in league play.
• Only three Aggies in the team's current eight-man rotation have ever played in an SEC game.
• Sophomores Jay Jay Chandler, Savion Flagg and TJ Starks enter their second year in the SEC, while grad transfer Christian Mekowulu, junior JUCO transfer Wendell Mitchell, junior Division I transfer Josh Nebo, sophomore JUCO transfer Brandon Mahan and redshirt freshman John Walker III will make their debuts on Saturday.
• Starks started the last ten games of conference play last season and was eventually named to the All-Freshman team. He was also named to the SEC Preseason Second Team by the league's coaches.

Mekowulu Rolling Into Conference Play
• Graduate student Christian Mekowulu has been dominant for the Aggies, averaging 16.0 points and 5.0 rebounds over the last three games entering league play.
• Mekowulu led the Aggies in scoring in back-to-back games, putting up a season-high 20 points against Valpo, shooting 88.9-percent from the field. He followed it up with a 17-point performance against Marshall.
• The upperclassman has scored in double figures in five of the last six games after reaching double digits just once in the team's first five games.
• On the boards, Mekowulu leads the SEC, averaging 3.2 offensive rebounds per game, helping the Aggies rank second in the league with 13.6 per game.

Mitchell Rains From Three
• Junior JUCO transfer Wendell Mitchell led the Aggies against Texas Southern, finishing with 21 points, 18 coming in the second half.
• Mitchell knocked down five threes in the game on eight attempts, shooting 62.5-percent from beyond the arc against the Tigers.

Balanced Attack
• Without its returning leading scorer and experienced senior Admon Gilder to start the season, Texas A&M has been in search of its leader on the offensive end of the floor.
• Through the 11-game non-conference portion of the schedule, A&M saw seven different players lead the team in scoring.
• Sophomore Savion Flagg leads all other Aggies as he has paced the team on three occasions.
• Redshirt freshman John Walker III is the only Aggie in the team's usual eight-man rotation that has yet to lead the team in scoring.