The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies travel to Kansas State


In the first two games of Big 12 Conference play, Texas A&M has been close to beating two of the most prominent basketball programs in the nation: Missouri and Kansas.
Kansas State (8-5, 0-2 Big 12) also played Kansas and came close to beating the Jayhawks, but to no avail. More recently, the Wildcats gave up a 16-point second half lead, only to lose by a single point to No. 24 Oklahoma State.
Now A&M (7-6, 0-2) travels to Manhattan, Kan., to face Kansas State Wednesday night in a battle of two teams that feel as if they should have at least one upset win, if not two, under their belts.
“We’ve come off two of the better teams in the league, and we thought we had chances to win us some ball games), but we didn’t get it done,” said A&M head coach Melvin Watkins. “I’m sure (Kansas State) will be feeling the same way.”
The Aggies are hoping to get senior forward Jesse King back in the lineup after he missed the team’s game against Kansas due to an injured foot suffered in practice last week. King is the Aggies’ second leading scorer and second leading rebounder, averaging 13 points and 5.8 boards per game.
“He will be day-by-day,” Watkins said. “He was pretty sore, and they did a lot of treatment, but he was not ready to go (against Kansas). I really think we’re playing better now, and the kids are getting a little more confidence in our abilities to play against teams, but we surely miss Jesse.”
King’s return would help ease the pressure off of A&M senior center Andy Slocum, who had a tremendous defensive game against Kansas. Tonight, Slocum will once again face two outstanding post players when he faces Kansas State junior Jeremiah Massey and sophomore Marques Hayden.
Massey leads the Wildcats with 14.3 points a game while contributing 7.7 rebounds per contest. Hayden owns the paint for Kansas State pulling down 8.5 boards per game while averaging 10.4 points.
“I’ve been playing as hard as I can against every post player I play,” Slocum said. “When big men come up against me I want to do the best I can so I can make a good showing.”
Whether King can set foot on the court or not, the Aggies will have their hands full. Kansas State is a perfect 8-0 at Bramlage Coliseum while the Aggies are a dismal 1-4 on the road in the 2003-04 season.
For one of these teams, the ship will be righted and confidence will be restored. For the other, an 0-3 start in the Big 12 could end its dreams of a postseason birth.
“It’s a huge game,” said Kansas State head coach Jim Wooldridge.
“Every team plays games sometimes during the year that is pivotal to whatever their success is going to be. I would probably say that this game, at an early juncture of the season, jumps out as one of those games.”

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