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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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Aggie men ready for PAC 12 showdown against Arizona State

No. 18 Texas A&M will look to continue its impressive start to the season as it travels to Tempe, Arizona to take on Arizona State on Saturday night.
Texas A&M (7-1) is coming off of a 75 to 65 victory over Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday The Aggies are led in scoring by senior Danuel House, who is averaging 16 points per contest and was recently named to the Naismith award watch list. Freshman center Tyler Davis leads the team in rebounding with 6.1 per game and transfer Anthony Collins is the floor general, leading the Aggies with 5.1 assists per game.
Senior forward Jalen Jones served a four game suspension to begin the season but has returned strong, averaging 15 points per game. House, Jones, Davis and Tonny Trocha Morelos all average double digit points for A&M and the freshman duo of Admon Gilder and D.J. Hogg are right on the cusp of that, averaging 8.9 and 8.4 points per game respectively.
Arizona State (5-2) enters the game after claiming an impressive 79-77 win at Creighton. The Sun Devils have three players who average double digits in forward Savon Goodman, and guards Gerry Blakes and Tra Holder. Goodman leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.9 points and 7.7 boards per game.
Last season, the two teams faced off and the Aggies squeaked out a narrow 72-71 win at Reed Arena. Arizona State has a new head coach in Bobby Hurley, and A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said the Sun Devils will bring some new looks but still have a lot of great returning players from last years campaign.
“They’re different because offensively they run a lot more sets and aren’t shooting as many threes but it’s the same players [as last year],” Kennedy said. “Philosophy wise they’re different on offense and defense. Blakes is a good driver, Goodman is playing extremely well he didn’t play against us last year and he’s probably their best player. They are a veteran team.”
A&M senior guard Alex Caruso said since this is the team’s first true road game, the freshman on the team will finally get a taste of what it is like to play in hostile environments.
“This will be a good experience for the young guys to see what it’s like in conference play when we go play a South carolina, Tennessee or Florida,” Caruso said. “You kind of get the [feeling]  in the atmosphere that it’s everyone against you and there’s a contingency of only about 30-40 people on your side. I’m excited for it and I think they’re going to be ready for it.”
Caruso said that since the Aggies are ranked, it is a different feeling to have a never-ending target on your back, but knows this team has the potential as long as they stay focused in practice.
“Our role switched around from last year,” Caruso said. “We’re not the team fighting against the team that’s high and mighty right now. We are the team that’s high and mighty and we’ve got other teams clawing at us ready to come get us. It comes down to us being prepared to play no matter who it is.”
Kennedy said that his players are ready to face the challenge of traveling to Arizona State and that the result of the game will be crucial when NCAA Tournament time arrives.
“If you win against a PAC-12 team it helps RPI wise at the end of the year,” Kennedy said. “These are the games that when we compete our league against the Pac 12 or SEC who won road games is always a factor.”
Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. C.T. and the game is being broadcasted by ESPN2.

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