COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A prolonged scoring draught of better than 10 minutes eliminated Mississippi State’s chances to get a road win in the Southeastern Conference Wednesday night.
Texas A&M put together a 20-2 run in the second half and cruised to a 72-52 men’s basketball win in the Reed Arena.
With the win, Texas A&M snapped a five-game losing streak while improving to 13-9 overall and 4-5 in league play. MSU has now lost four straight and is 13-9 and 3-6. The teams split the season series, as MSU won earlier in the year in overtime in Starkville.
“We gave this team confidence from the beginning,” Ray said. “In the second half, they played with confidence because we didn’t take anything away from them. We are just playing like a dead ballclub right now. It is disappointing. We were hoping to go from competitive on the road to getting a road win.”
After battling Vanderbilt to the wire in its last road contest, MSU was unable to keep this contest in doubt late. The teams were tied at 26 at halftime. Texas A&M shot 69 percent from the field in the second half.
The Bulldogs grabbed an 11-8 lead with 13:12 left in the first half after a 3-point basket by Trivante Bloodman. Texas A&M reeled off six straights points for a 16-13 lead. The Aggies ran the lead to six at 22-16.
Two free throws by Fred Thomas brought MSU within 36-35. The Bulldogs then went better than 11 minutes without a field goal.
“We played as bad as we did the whole season in the first half,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “I was encouraged by that because were tied. In the second half, we played any worse. We aren’t playing with any life or any purpose right now.”
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 18 of 48 shots from the field (37.5 percent), 8 of 19 shots from 3-point range (42.1 percent) and 8 of 11 shots from the foul line (72.7 percent). The Aggies hit 29 of 57 shots from the field (50.9 percent), 6 of 18 shots from 3-point range (33.3 percent) and 8 of 17 shots from the foul line (47.1 percent).
MSU held a 33-32 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had 12 assists and 17 turnovers, while the Aggies had 22 assists and six turnovers.
Jamal Jones led Texas A&M with 20 points. He was joined in double figures by Kourtney Roberson with 14 points and Shawn Smith with 10 points.
Fred Thomas and Sword each scored 10 points to pace MSU.
MSU returns home to host Kentucky Saturday. The Bulldogs and Wildcats tip at 12:47 p.m. from the Humphrey Coliseum, with the contest being televised regionally by SEC TV.