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Aggies down Cowboys, advance to CBI quarterfinals

On March 20, 2014

The Texas A&M men’s basketball team never looked back after a dominant first half performance en route to a 59-43 shellacking of the Wyoming Cowboys in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.

Texas A&M started the game on a strong 21-4 run. After a vigorous rebounding effort and minimizing second chance opportunities, A&M was able to hold Wyoming to 27-percent shooting from the field and just 16 points in the first half.

Sophomore Antwan Space said that the team’s hot start was a key element in the A&M victory.

“Having the lead like that definitely gives you confidence going forward,” Space said. “In early games, we kind of let leads like that just [go] away. Our coach told [us] in the huddle to just keep on it and just keep pushing until the game is over.”

The Aggies shot 52-percent from the field and made four shots from behind the arc. A large part of the scoring from A&M came off the 18 points scored in the paint. Junior Kourtney Roberson led all scorers with an eight-point performance at the intermission.

The second half showed more of the same as the Aggies’ defensive intensity and rebounding onslaught continued. A&M outrebounded the Cowboys 41-27 on the game, producing its largest positive rebounding margin of the season.

At the 8:38 mark in the second half, senior Fabyon Harris hit a three-pointer off the assist from junior Jordan Green to give A&M its largest lead of the game, 52-31. On the following possession, Harris sank another shot from behind the arc to extend the Aggie margin.

Texas A&M finished off Wyoming with three players scoring in double figures, and for the first time this season, two players recording double-doubles.

Roberson, who led all scorers, finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds to etch his seventh career double-double. Space added his first career double-double in the maroon and white, posting 11 points and 11 boards. Fabyon Harris continued the double-digit scoring output by contributing 11 points -- nine of which came off three-pointers.

“Coach [Kennedy] has been on me, [Space], [Tavario Miller], and [Dylan Johns] all week about being able to dominate the baseline,” Roberson said. “During timeouts, coach [Kennedy] told the guards to just keep shooting when they’re open. Sometimes they would hesitate to shoot, [so] he just said to shoot when they’re open and I think that’s what they did.”

College Station product Alex Caruso led the Aggies Wednesday, dishing out a game-high 10 assists, seven of which came in the first half of play. Caruso’s 10 assists give him 164 on the year and move him to No. 13 on A&M’s all-time career assists list with 276.

Wyoming head coach Larry Shyatt was upset that his team didn’t put forth a better effort in the loss.

“I feel bad we weren’t able to give a better ball game,” Shyatt said. “We play to a higher intellect and we play against some pretty good teams on the road. Sometimes we find ourselves down, and always, with no exceptions except tonight, always fought back. Rather than defer to Texas A&M for playing a great game, I will tell you that I feel bad that our guys didn’t put up more of a fight.”

Wednesday’s victory moves A&M to 4-1 all-time against the Cowboys and increases this year’s home ledger to 17-3.

The Aggies will leave the comfort of Reed Arena as they advance to the quarterfinals of the CBI where they will meet Illinois State on Monday in Normal, Ill.

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