No. 18 Kentucky rallies to pull away from Texas A&M 85-74

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LEXINGTON, Kentucky (AP) -- Tyler Herro had 21 points, Ashton Hagans scored a career-high 18 and No. 18 Kentucky overcame a 10-0 deficit before holding off Texas A&M for an 85-74 victory on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (11-3, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) started badly on both ends with four missed shots, turnovers and defensive breakdowns the Aggies seized upon for a pair of 10-point leads. Kentucky quickly regrouped with a 19-6 run over 5:21. Hagans had a pair of steals during the spurt.

The Wildcats led 46-34 at the break before having to withstand a second-half comeback by the Aggies (6-7, 0-2), who got within 66-64 with 7:55 left. Immanuel Quickley answered with a 3-pointer and PJ Washington eventually followed with a three-point play for an 11-point cushion that held up.

Herro was 7 of 14 from the field with three from long range for his second 20-point effort in three games. Hagans made 10 of 11 free throws along with shooting 4 of 6 as the Wildcats made 15 of 27 (56 percent) after halftime to finish 52 percent overall.

Jay Jay Chandler and TJ Starks each had 18 points for Texas A&M, which shot above 50 percent for much of the game. The Aggies cooled off late and finished 48 percent.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Kentucky should remain ranked as long as it follows up against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

BIG PICTURE

Texas A&M: The Aggies stayed close with good shooting and even edged Kentucky 29-28 on the glass. They just didn't have enough answers down the stretch to overtake the Wildcats.

Kentucky: Shaky as the Wildcats initially looked, they settled down and soon led after 10 minutes. Though outshot much of the night by the Aggies, handling the paint helped them gain the edge and a strong bounce-back from Saturday's loss at Alabama.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M visits Alabama on Saturday, seeking its third win in the past five meetings.

Kentucky hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday in search of its fifth consecutive win against the Commodores.

Texas A&M Basketball Postgame Notes
#18 Kentucky 85, Texas A&M 74

Rupp Arena (Lexington, Kentucky)

ABOUT THE GAME

Texas A&M fell to 6-7 on the season after stumbling at No. 18 Kentucky, 85-74.
The Aggies got out to a strong start on both ends of the floor, scoring the first 10 points of the game and drawing three offensive fouls in the first 4:35 of play.
Kentucky scored seven straight out of the first media timeout to get back in it and later used a 15-2 run to take control.
The Aggies used a steady push in the second half to make it a six-point game with just under 10 to play.
An 8-2 run by A&M made it a 66-64 with 7:55 on the clock, but eight straight points by the Wildcats sealed the game.

TEAM NOTES

Texas A&M shot a season-best 47.1-percent from three and 92.3-percent from the free throw line.
Four Aggies scored in double figures for the fourth time this season.
A&M outscored Kentucky, 40-39, in the second half, but the 12-point first half deficit was too much to overcome.
The Aggies used the starting lineup of Jay Jay Chandler, Wendell Mitchell, TJ Starks, Savion Flagg, and Christian Mekowulu for the first time this season.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

Sophomore TJ Starks reached double figures for the fourth straight game, leading the way with 18 points.
Sophomore Jay Jay Chandler went 7-of-9 from the field as he returned to the starting lineup and double figures, helping lead the way with 18 points.
Sophomore Savion Flagg neared a double-double with 13 points and nine boards, reaching double figures for the third straight game.
Junior Wendell Mitchell added 10 points, all coming in the first half, and six rebounds.
Graduate student Christian Mekowulu drew all three offensive fouls in the opening minutes, including a pair of charges.
Billy Kennedy is now 143-105 in his eight-year tenure at Texas A&M and 354-284 in his 21 seasons as a head coach.

UP NEXT

The Aggies will remain on the road to close out the week, traveling to Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan
12.