Texas A&M erases deficit, beats Missouri 68-59

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Wendell Mitchell scored 20 points to help Texas A&M erase a 12-point, second-half deficit and beat Missouri 68-59 on Saturday.

TJ Starks scored 15 points, Christian Mekowulu added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Savion Flagg finished with 12 points for the Aggies (9-13, 2-8 Southeastern Conference).

Javon Pickett led Missouri (11-11, 2-8) with 15 points, and Torrence Watson and Jordan Geist each scored 12. Junior forward Reed Nikko, making his first career start, finished with a season-high eight points.

The Aggies trailed 30-21 at halftime, largely because they committed 10 turnovers against Missouri's sagging man-to-man defense that ranks next-to-last in the SEC in steals. The Tigers expanded the lead to 12 points on a Watson 3-pointer with 17:39 left.

Starks sparked a Texas A&M comeback by blowing by defenders and converting drives to the basket. Flagg's 3-pointer in transition gave the Aggies the lead at 46-44 with 7:23 remaining. They pulled away late as Missouri frittered away offensive possessions with 10 second-half turnovers.

The Tigers' second- and third-leading scorers did not play. Sophomore forward Jeremiah Tilmon missed the game because of emergency wisdom teeth removal on Saturday, a team spokesperson said. Sophomore guard Mark Smith missed his fifth straight game after spraining his ankle on Jan. 23.

BIG PICTURE

Missouri: This was the second time in SEC play the Tigers squandered a double-digit second-half lead at home. On Jan. 26, Missouri led LSU by 14 points with just over two minutes left in regulation and lost in overtime.

Texas A&M: The Aggies, who were playing without key reserve Josh Nebo because of a leg injury, broke a six-game SEC losing streak and avenged a 23-point home loss to Missouri on Jan. 19. Nebo, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, had posted double-doubles in points and rebounds in two of his last three games, but the Aggies were able to survive with a smaller lineup.

UP NEXT

Missouri: The Tigers face Arkansas on Tuesday at home.

Texas A&M: The Aggies play host to Georgia on Tuesday.

Texas A&M Basketball Postgame Notes
Texas A&M 68, Missouri 59
Mizzou Arena (Columbia, Missouri)

ABOUT THE GAME

The Aggies moved to 9-13 on the year, 2-8 in SEC play as thy snapped a three-game skid with a 68-59 win at Missouri.
Missouri closed out the first half with a 13-2 run, but TJ Starks drained a three just before the halftime buzzer to get the Aggies back within single digits, trailing 30-21 at the break.
A&M used a 12-2 run of its own to get within one midway through the second half, and put together an 18-3 scoring spree to secure the road victory.
TEAM NOTES

Four Aggies scored in double figures in a game for the fifth time this season.
The win is A&M’s third this season when trailing at the break (Alabama, Kansas State)
The Aggies used the starting lineup of Chris Collins, Wendell Mitchell, Brandon Mahan, Savion Flagg and Christian Mekowulu for the first time this season.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

Junior Wendell Mitchell led the way for the Aggies for the fourth time in five games with 20 points. This is the fourth time in the last six games he has reached the 20-point mark.
Sophomore TJ Starks bounced back against the Tigers, putting up 15 to reach double-figures for the fifth time in the last six games.
Graduate student Christian Mekowulu recorded his first double-double as an Aggie, finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Sophomore Savion Flagg returned to double figure scoring 12 points against Missouri.
Billy Kennedy is now 146-111 in his eight-year tenure at Texas A&M and 357-290 in his 21 seasons as a head coach.

UP NEXT
The Aggies will return home on a quick turnaround to host Georgia on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. Tickets for the game are available here.