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Men's Basketball face Wildcats in Rupp Arena

Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 00:01


Tanner Garza

Junior guard Jamal Jones attacks the rim against South Carolina on Wednesday at Reed Arena. The Aggies won 75-67.

The Texas A&M men’s basketball team faces its toughest matchup of the season Tuesday as it heads to Lexington, Ky., to face the No. 14 Kentucky Wildcats at 8 p.m. in Rupp Arena.

The Aggies (12-5, 3-1 SEC) look to return to their winning ways after suffering an overtime loss, and lone conference loss of the season, during Saturday’s game against
Mississippi State.

Last season, the Aggies split two games against the Wildcats, with both teams able to earn victories on the road. The Aggies upset the Wildcats 83-71 in Rupp Arena behind a 40-point explosion from graduated senior Elston Turner. The A&M victory marked the first home SEC loss for the Wildcats under head coach John Calipari.

Although the Aggies don’t have Turner to lean on this year, they look to junior guard Jamal Jones to carry over his 24-point outburst Saturday at Mississippi State — his fifth-straight contest scoring in double-digits and third-straight 20-point performance — to Tuesday’s showdown with Kentucky. Jones comes into the game averaging 20.8 points per game in SEC play, ranking him second in the league.

Freshman forward Davonte Fitzgerald is averaging 13 points in SEC play and earned SEC freshman of the week honors last week. Sophomore guard Alex Caruso hastaken over sole possession of the Aggies’ point guard duties and remains the SEC leader in assists (88) and assists per game (5.2).

Kentucky (13-4, 3-1 SEC) enters Tuesday’s matchup scoring 80.4 points per game, while the Aggie defense is holding its opponents to 61.5 points per game.

The Aggie defense will have its hands full as it tries to tame the trio of freshmen talent Kentucky brings to the floor. Julius Randle averages 16.9 points per game followed by twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, who are averaging 14.1 and 11.5 points, respectively.

Tuesday’s game is slated for primetime television and will be broadcast on ESPN as a part of its Super Tuesday coverage with Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes calling the action.

Tuesday’s matchup will be the sixth meeting on the hardwood between A&M and Kentucky. The series began during the 1941-42 season and Kentucky holds the all-time edge 3-2.

Following the game in Lexington, the Aggies will head back home to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores at noon Saturday in Reed Arena.

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