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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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%28left+to+right%29+Juniors+Tyler+Davis+and+Admon+Gilder+celebrate+with+sophomore+Robert+Williams+after+a+play+during+A%26amp%3BM%26%238217%3Bs+exhibition+game+against+Texas+Oct.+25+in+Houston.+The+game+was+held+to+raise+money+for+Rebuild+Texas%2C+which+benefits+hurricane+relief+efforts.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

(left to right) Juniors Tyler Davis and Admon Gilder celebrate with sophomore Robert Williams after a play during A&M’s exhibition game against Texas Oct. 25 in Houston. The game was held to raise money for Rebuild Texas, which benefits hurricane relief efforts. 

Following a 5,000-plus mile trip to Germany, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team faces UC-Santa Barbara in the Aggies home-opener on Nov. 17.
A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said the 23-point drubbing of West Virginia made the journey even better.
“It’s good to be home, it was a long trip and I couldn’t imagine it being a long trip without a win, so the win obviously makes it much better,” Kennedy said at his Tuesday press conference. “It was a great experience for us to go to Germany … Coming home, there’s nothing like home, so it’s good to be home.”
The junior trio of Admon Gilder, Tyler
Davis and D.J. Hogg combined for 65 points against the Mountaineers. Kennedy said he was pleased with the way his upperclassmen led the team back from as many as 13 points.
“I learned that our older guys are ahead against an experienced team like West Virginia,” Kennedy said. “I thought Admon Gilder and D.J. Hogg did a good job coming in and playing with some poise on the offensive end.”
Both Gilder and Hogg had significant minutes coming off the bench following their one-game suspensions. Gilder picked up where he left off from a stellar second-half of the season last year recording 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. His efforts earned SEC Player of the Week honors on Monday.
“Admon came in and really did a good job of moving the ball, passing the ball,” Kennedy said.
With sophomore forward Robert Williams out due to suspension, Kennedy turned to Hogg to fill in the power forward spot. Hogg’s long-range shooting ability was an asset Kennedy said aided the Aggies in victory.
“Playing D.J. at the four extended the floor for us,” Kennedy said. “We got some three’s in transition and that gives us some versatility with our team being able to play him at different positions.”
Despite the lopsided win, Kennedy is not over-reacting to his team’s performance, which resulted in the Aggies jumping nine spots to No. 16 in the latest AP Poll.
“We won one game and we won it in a fashion that surprised us as well as it surprised many because we got open shots and I thought West Virginia played like a young team,” Kennedy said. “When they put their guys in, they had four freshmen on the floor at times and they’re just not the same team they were last year.”
In order to continue stringing together similar wins, Kennedy said the Aggies must be more consistent in preparing for games the right way.
“We have practices that don’t warrant beating the No. 11 team in the country at times,” Kennedy said. “Until we get that cured, we’re not going to be a consistent top team like we’re capable of being.”
Up next lies UC-Santa Barbara, who is coming off an 85-66 win over North Dakota State. Sophomore guard Max Heidegger scored 33
points
in the Gauchos’ win, draining eight three-pointers. Kennedy said he knows first-year head coach Joe Pasternack will have his squad ready for a marquee showdown against the Aggies.
“The big question Friday night is will we respect [UC]-Santa Barbara,” Kennedy said. “That’s yet to be determined, but I do know that we have maturity and depth, so if somebody’s not playing well, we can play somebody else.”
Kennedy added that he hopes to utilize an emerging strong bench during Friday’s game with an abundance of upcoming games. The Aggies head to New York City this weekend to play in the Legends Classic where they are set to face Oklahoma State on Nov. 20.
“We’ve really got four games in five days. We play Friday, Monday and Tuesday and that’s a quick turnaround, but hopefully our depth will allow us to play a lot of guys and that will be an advantage when we get to New York City,” Kennedy said. “It starts with Santa Barbara, we haven’t proven that we can establish ourselves day in and day out and so this is a good test for us on Friday.”
A&M and UC-Santa Barbara are set for a 7 p.m. tip-off Friday night at Reed Arena. The game will be televised on SEC Network Plus.

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