No. 25 Texas A&M beats Alcorn State 56-44
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP)
''We didn't want to give them a good look at the basket,'' Braves coach Luther Riley said following the Aggies' 56-44 victory. ''We wanted to take some of their points away by contesting the kick-out pass. It was just a bad shooting night for them, and we were in zone for that reason.''
The Aggies (5-1) finished 0 for 17 from 3-point range, and had to rely on big men Ray Turner, who had 16 points, and David Loubeau, who had 14, to save the day on the inside.
''We knew the Aggies wanted to play inside-out with Loubeau and Turner there in the paint,'' Riley said. ''Unfortunately for us following their (outside) misses there were situations where we gave up some second and third shots.''
Freshman KeDorian Sullivan led the Braves (1-6) with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Riley said that after Sullivan and his fellow underclassmen settled down in a Big 12 environment, the Braves game A&M a game, outscoring the Aggies 27-26 in the second half.
''Our effort was OK, but we gave up too many offensive rebounds,'' Riley said.
A&M outrebounded Alcorn State 19-10 on the offensive end and 49-32 overall. Still, the Aggies were upset with their overall showing - and especially their shooting.
''Everyone is disappointed because of this game,'' Turner said. ''Even though we got the win, it wasn't good enough.''
Naji Hibbert had eight rebounds for the Aggies, who won their 64th consecutive nonconference home game.
A&M, in its most off-kilter outing of the early season, missed all 17 of its 3-point attempts.
''The zone has given us problems this year,'' Loubeau said of A&M's terrible night of shooting. ''We've got to find a half-court offense and go from there.''
Alcorn State was only 3 of 11 from beyond the arc.
''We're obviously disappointed we didn't make a shot from the perimeter against their zone,'' Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said. ''Bottom line is if you go 0 for 17 from the 3-point line against the zone, it's going to be difficult to look good offensively.''
One place the Aggies looked good was on the run, outscoring Alcorn 20-2 on the fast break, and 42-26 in the paint in overwhelming the Braves with their size, if not shooting acumen.
Alcorn led 9-8 with 11:33 remaining in the first half before a layup by Jamal Branch gave the Aggies the lead for good. A&M shot only 40.3 percent (25 of 62), while Alcorn was even worse at 32.7 percent (18 of 55).
Texas A&M, which has won three straight, is still without its top player, guard Khris Middleton, who is expected back in less than two weeks after recovering from surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee.
''(Shooting) has been a concern, especially with Khris out,'' Kennedy said.
Alcorn State, which lost its sixth consecutive game, outscored A&M 30-16 off the bench, one of the Braves' few highlights on the night and yet another lowlight for A&M.
''We're not getting much help from our bench right now,'' Kennedy said. ''We've got to get more help, or we're just going to have to shorten our rotation.''
Texas A&M's five blocks were a season-high, and the seven assists by Aggies point guard Dash Harris were also a season-high.