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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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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

A&M holds off K-State, improves to 6-0 at home

Senior+Alex+Caruso%26%23160%3Bworks+his+way+around+a+Kansas+State+player+to+move+the+ball+down+to+the+court.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel

Senior Alex Caruso works his way around a Kansas State player to move the ball down to the court. 

After last Saturday, Jalen Jones just needed some time to “chill” before he caught fire once again. 
Behind Jones’ 25 points and a stingy lock-down defense, the Aggies held off a late surge by Kansas State for a 78-68 win at Reed Arena on Saturday afternoon.
A&M (8-2) was sparked by the play of Alex Caruso, who was all over the floor for the Aggies. He dropped 13 points, dished out nine assists and swiped six steals, both of which were season highs for him.
Billy Kennedy, A&M’s head coach, says seeing his older guys perform when needed is encouraging to see.
“Good to get a win against a team that plays extremely hard,” Kennedy said. “I thought Caruso and Jalen stepped up for us and that was good to see…seniors stepping up is the mark of a good team.”
Both teams came out firing to start the half, but eventually the defenses would settle in and it would become a grinding affair. The Aggies utilized a 10-0 run late in the half, capped by a DJ Hogg three-pointer that brought life to the Reed Arena crowd, to go up 33-23. However, KSU would battle back to make it 35-29 at the halftime break.
Jalen Jones, who was sick all week with strep throat, led all scorers with 25 points and nine rebounds while hitting two three-pointers. His effort was helped by another 10 points from Tyler Davis who was 5-for-5 shooting on the day.
Jones said getting the rest this week was good, but it was good to get back on the court and getting back to their winning ways.
“I got some rest. I was sick…I was able to chill in bed a little bit more and get some time just to recover,” Jones said. “My teammates found me in the right spots and I knocked down a couple of shots…we had a bad taste in our mouth. It feels good to get back on the winning side.”
As a team, A&M shot 50 percent from the three-point line, and shot 54 percent overall in the game, a big improvement from last week’s no-show at Arizona State. Caruso knows the win was an important one as they head into a weeklong break.
“It was really important psychologically,” Caruso said. “I think it is good having another full week off…it was good to get a win under our belt to get the morale and energy on the team back up.”
KSU (7-2) was led by Texas native Wesley Iwundu, who contributed 23 points to the Wildcat effort, including a vicious dunk that pulled the momentum to the Wildcat side late in the game.
The Wildcats shot just 25 percent from downtown and turned the ball over 16 times. They did however outrebound the Aggies by a 35 to 31 margin, which led to them outscoring A&M 19 to 8 on second chance points.
The second half was one highlighted by runs from both teams.
After leading 43-42, A&M ripped off a 23-6 run to put them comfortably in front with a 66-48 lead. Then, the Wildcats came roaring back with an 11-0 run of their own and found themselves down just five points with about two minutes to go in the game.
The Aggies rose to the occasion on the defensive side of the ball and shut the Wildcats down for the final minutes of play. A layup by Caruso, subsequent steal on the KSU inbound pass, then converting late free throws helped A&M seal the game for good.
A&M now has a seven day break before they return to Reed Arena next Saturday when they take on the Baylor Bears. 

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