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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Depleted Aggies survive scare from Northern Kentucky, 64-58

Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Freshman forward Savion Flagg recorded his first career double-double, scoring 12 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.

In its first nine victories, No. 8 Texas A&M had cruised past its opponents, winning each game by double digits. That was not the case Tuesday night at Reed Arena, as the Aggies had to fend off Northern Kentucky in a nail-biter, 64-58.
“I thought we found a way to win,” A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said. “It’s been a crazy week with injuries and practice during the holidays and I’m just glad to get a win against a pretty good team.”
Down just four with a minute to go, the Norse had a chance to bring the game within one possession, but a costly turnover by Dantez Walton led to a breakaway for Tonny Trocha-Morelos, who was fouled and made both free throws. Another NKU foul on its next possession allowed D.J. Hogg to sink a free throw and make it a seven-point advantage for A&M with 36.6 seconds left.
“That was a huge play, great hustle on D.J.’s part, a big-time steal,” senior guard Duane Wilson said. “Everyone was scrambling and he was just alert using his length and using his speed to get the steal. That was huge to steal the deal.”
NKU would not go down easily though, burying a pair of threes between a Tyler Davis layup to pull within 61-58 with 19.3 to go.
Up four, a steal by Savion Flagg with 10 seconds sealed the hard-fought win for the Aggies.
“We need to close,” NKU head coach said. “We were 8-1 in one-possession games last year. This doesn’t count as a one-possession game, but we’re 0-3 in one-possession games this year. I played for coach [Billy] Donovan and he told me it’s a year-to-year thing. I hope it’s a half-year thing.”
Wilson led the way with 16 points, his seventh game scoring in double figures.
Tyler Davis carried the heavy lifting for A&M as the junior center scored 14 points and added 10 rebounds. It was Davis’ second straight double-double.
Flagg’s play may been most pivotal, recording his first double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The freshman forward grabbed key boards and made critical shots down the stretch.
“Coach needed people to step up and luckily my name was called and they trusted me,” Flagg said. “I just did what I had to do to get my team a win.”
Injuries hindered the Aggies, who were missing key starters Robert Williams (concussion) and Admon Gilder (knee). Go-to bench player T.J. Starks (leg tightness) also missed the game.
“We’ve got a deep team and the good thing I think is we were able to play those guys earlier in this season, so it’s not the first time they’ve been in hard-fought, combat-type games,” Kennedy said.
A&M followed up its school-record 16 made three-pointers against Savannah State last Thursday with a difficult day from deep. The Aggies were just 10 percent (2-of-20) from behind the arch. Overall, A&M shot a season-low 37 percent from the field.
“It was just an off night,” Wilson said. “Shooters shoot, so we’ve just got to continue to keep shooting and just bounce back from it.”
The first half was one of runs and droughts on both sides, as the Aggies maintained a slim six-point lead, 29-23, at the break.
Both teams traded three-minute scoring droughts during the middle of the opening period, but A&M responded with a 12-2 run to open up a 27-19 advantage, its largest of the half, with 6:18 to go.
It was a sloppy ending for the Aggies though, who turned the ball over four times in the final six minutes. The Norse was unable to capitalize on A&M’s miscues, however, only making one of their final nine shots of the half.
A&M returns to action on Thursday as the Aggies host Buffalo. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m.

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