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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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T.J. Starks, Tonny Trocha-Morelos lift Aggies over Mizzou

Junior+center+Tyler+Davis+led+the+Aggies+with+14+rebounds.
Photo by Photo by Abby Collida

Junior center Tyler Davis led the Aggies with 14 rebounds.

With ample help from their supporting cast, the Aggies showed their depth and defeated Missouri, 60-49 Saturday afternoon at Reed Arena.
The Aggies (13-6, 2-5 SEC) played stout defense throughout the game and held Mizzou (13-6, 3-3 SEC) to just 15-of-52 from the field. A&M was also able to contain Mizzou’s big duo of Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett, who combined for just 16 points on 3-of-17 shooting.
“We were real conscious of Robertson and Barnett. We tried to take both of those guys away and force their young guys to beat us,” head coach Billy Kennedy said. “I thought Admon Gilder did a good job on Robertson most of the game.”
The Aggies were also able to limit their turnovers in the game, coughing up the ball just four times in the game, a huge improvement from the last two games where the Aggies had 10 and 17 turnovers, respectively.
One reason the turnovers were limited was careful play from freshman guard T.J. Starks. After not playing in A&M’s last game against Ole Miss, Starks provided the Aggies with an electric presence off the bench in the second half, netting 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Mizzou head coach Cuonzo Martin said Starks looked phenomenal on the court and his incredible handles caught his attention.
“TJ played like a star. He played very well, he drove the ball and has a very strong frame,” Martin said.
Starks came off the bench in the first half and Billy Kennedy decided to give fifth-year senior Duane Wilson a rest and give Starks the majority of the minutes in the second half. Starks played a career-high 24 minutes in the contest, including 14 in the second half, finishing the game with 11 points.
“I was ready for the moment. I had been in and out of the gym day and night so I feel like this was my time to step up and shine,” Starks said. “I just want to thank coach Kennedy for believing in me.”
Another strong presence coming off the bench was senior Tonny Trocha-Morelos who played one of his best games as an Aggie, finishing with 14 points and four rebounds. Trocha-Morelos also found success from behind the arc which is uncharacteristic of his game.
“Tonny’s been really good in practice. He’s playing like a senior, he’s talking on defense,” Kennedy said. “He’s doing a lot of things besides making shots. But he made shots yesterday [in practice], so I thought he would play well today.”
The Aggies seem to have done a full 180 since dropping their first five SEC games, and look primed for a strong finish to conference play.
“We’ve just got to be patient, stick to the game plan, listen to our coaches and stay determined day in and day out,” Starks said. “I believe that we will start something new again and that we’re just beginning.”
The Aggies will look to build off of the new life and sense of urgency on Tuesday on the road against LSU. The game will be televised by ESPNU with tip off at 8:00 p.m.

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