COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Jamal Jones scored 16 points to lead three in double figures as Texas A&M defeated McNeese State 73-60 Saturday.
Jones scored 10 points in the first half. He made back-to-back 3-pointers just before half to help Texas A&M (8-2) build a 44-31 halftime lead. "Jamal is getting a lot done for us, and playing with a lot of confidence," said Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy.
Jones is 16 of 26 from 3-point range in the past three home games.
Jordan Green hit a 3-pointer to give the Aggies a 51-38 lead with 13:08 to play. McNeese State (2-7) followed with a 6-0 run to pull within seven points, but the Cowboys did not get closer. Back-to-back three-point plays, and another 3-pointer by Jones helped the Aggies build a 14-point lead with 7:36 remaining.
"We moved the ball well and got some good opportunities to score," Kennedy said. "I was pleased with our effort offensively."
"We're a really close group, and so there's no selfishness among us," said Caruso. "Whatever it takes to get a win, that's what we're going to try and do."
Desharick Guidry, playing in his first game of the season, scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead McNeese State. Guidry missed the Cowboys' first eight games due to academic ineligibility. "Obviously we've missed him," said coach Dave Simmons.
Both teams haven't played since December 4.
"Both teams were coming off of finals, and both seemed a little lethargic at first," Simmons said. "And A&M is just very tough to beat at home."
The Aggies, who are undefeated at home, jumped to a 17-5 lead five minutes into the game and led the rest of the way. The Cowboys sliced the deficit to one later in the first half before falling back for good.
"We hadn't had any live action in a while, so we were a little rusty," said Caruso, in describing what he considered a less-than-stellar defensive effort by A&M. "We (at least) shot the ball well. You're going to have to good nights and bad nights shooting, and this was a good one for us."
McNeese plays at Louisiana Tech Tuesday. Texas A&M, following another ample break, faces Oklahoma next Saturday in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
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Despite departures that will hurt the frontcourt depth, the Buckeyes return their top six scorers and will have experience in the starting lineup.
Ben Bentil said that he will remain in the NBA draft and said he is "ready for the next chapter in my life."
Christian Kessee, Coppin State's leading scorer last season, has officially transferred to Memphis. The school announced the move Friday.
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|Sam Houston State||12-6||6||18-16|