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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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Men’s basketball hosts A&M International in exhibition

Basketball+Preview
Photo by: Valerie Gunchick
Basketball Preview

The A&M men’s basketball team opens its 2015-2016 campaign with an exhibition match against Texas A&M International Friday night in Reed Arena. It will be a chance to see the highly-touted incoming recruiting class at work against another opponent for the first time.
The matchup is the Aggies’ first contest against a different opponent since their 10-day European tour during the middle of August.
“It’s the last tune up for us before we start real games. It’s exciting to get to play in Reed Arena again,” said senior guard Alex Caruso. “A lot of these guys have not gotten to play a game on the court yet. I’m pretty sure that they’re ready, and I know I am ready.”
Texas A&M International competes in the Division II Heartland Conference, where they went 12-16 overall last year, and 7-13 in conference play. They come into the season after losing their top three-point shooter and leading scorer from the 2014-2015 squad.
Anthony Alston is the leading returning scorer for the Dustdevils, averaging 9.9 points per game last season. Alston is one of the only two players on this year’s roster who played for last season’s team. Three-point shooting will be the key for A&M-International, as it shot 35 percent from behind the arc last season.
For the Aggies, they return a main nucleus of Caruso, Danuel House and Jalen Jones from last year’s team. In addition, they add one of the nation’s best recruiting classes, which features D.J. Hogg, Admon Gilder, Elijah Thomas and Tyler Davis.
“We want to improve on everything,” said sophomore guard Chris Collins. “We want to improve on playing fast and getting into our sets quick, playing good defense…just playing good basketball.”
The incoming ‘fab four’ as they have been dubbed and the returning core for A&M make the Aggies a potential dark horse SEC contender. House is the Aggies returning leading scorer, averaging 14.3 points per game last year and 16.3 per contest in SEC play.
House was the star of the Maroon and White scrimmage, leading all scorers with 15 points. The Maroon team also shot 55 percent from the three-point line in the contest. The tandem of Caruso, the offensive catalyst and team leader in assists, and the three-point threat Hogg will be something to keep an eye on as the season gets underway.
“We’re doing really good,” Caruso said. “Everyone is fitting into their role … I think we are getting closer and closer with every practice … I think we are coming along great.”
This will be A&M’s final exhibition before the regular season begins next Friday night with a season opener at home against South Carolina-Upstate. The Aggies and Dustdevils get together on the hardwood 7 p.m. Friday night. The game will air on SEC Network Plus.

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