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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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Second-half comeback launches men’s basketball over New Mexico

In a tale of two halves, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team captured its third victory of the season with a 64-51 rout of New Mexico University Sunday afternoon at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Texas A&M (3-1) started slow out of the gates, shooting three of 18 from the field and committing nine turnovers in the first 14 minutes of play at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum.
The Lobos (3-2), a 2014 NCAA tournament team, capitalized on the lack of Aggie efficiency, and with a Deshawn Delaney three-pointer with under nine minutes remaining expanded their lead to nine points, 19-10.
Texas A&M true freshman Alex Robinson helped spark the Aggies with an and-one layup at the 5:19 mark that ended a four-minute scoring drought for the Aggies. His layup, with the converted free throw, reduced the Aggie deficit back to within ten at 22-13. Robinson finished with a career high 12 points on five of six shooting from the field, including one for one from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Davonte Fitzgerald followed Robinson’s lead with back to back three pointers bringing the Aggies to within seven, 19-26, with a little over four minutes remaining.
Danuel House, a junior transfer from the University of Houston seeing his first action of the season after being granted eligibility by the NCAA on Friday, then added a three-pointer of his own with 16 seconds remaining in the half. This brought the Aggies to within five at the break, 26-31.
House, a former five-star prospect from the class of 2012, according to ESPN.com, made the most of his A&M debut, leading all Aggies in scoring with 18 points on seven of 11 shooting from the field. He also contributed six rebounds, two assists, one steal and a block.
Assistant coach Mitch Cole praised House’s performance.
“He plays with so much energy and heart and effort, emotional, just gets after it,” Cole said. “I think all of the guys knew that when he came in he was going to bring a spark and bring a level of energy that we hadn’t had. So hats off to him and the rest of guys for embracing him. It’s not easy to have a new guy come in and take minutes from different guys, but they all embraced him and, hey, it’s a brotherhood right there.”
The Aggies continued their momentum into the second half. After exchanging free throws and buckets in the first few minutes, A&M went on an 11-0 run to seize and extend its first lead of the game at 40-34. The run featured four Alex Caruso-assisted buckets and a Jalen Jones dunk that forced the Lobos to use a timeout with 14:05 remaining.
Caruso, a senior, finished with 10 assists, eight rebounds and five points while Jones, a junior, added 13 points, eight rebounds and two steals of his own.
Robinson further helped extend the lead to 59-46 with a three-pointer at the 4:51 mark.
The Aggies sustained their 13-point lead to the end of the game, winning 64-51, outscoring the Lobos 38-20 in the second half. Head coach Billy Kennedy said the opportunities to score were there in the first half, but that the Aggies were not executing.
“We had great shots in the first half,” Kennedy said. “I told our guys at halftime, you know if we take out the bad plays, that we made some bad plays in transition, turning the ball over — I think we had seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game, we only had five in the last thirty minutes — we were getting wide-open, great shots, we just weren’t making them, and I knew at some point we would make them, and fortunately in the second half we started knocking them in.”
The A&M victory concluded its run in the 2014 Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament with consecutive victories. Kennedy said he was pleased with his team’s tournament finale.
“Obviously a good win when you’re adding three new guys to your team,” Kennedy said. “In the first half, I thought it took us a little bit to adjust and then, in the second half, our guys picked it up another level defensively and we were able to score in transition. I’m really proud of all of our guys for sticking together because when you bring three new players in, sometimes it can totally disrupt a team. I liked our guys’ character and how they stuck together and pulled for each other the whole time. Danuel House is obviously an impact player for us and I really liked Alex Robinson stepping up. It was a good team win.”
The Aggies next hit the hardwood at noon Friday in a home matchup against New Orleans University.

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