Mon, 18 Jan 2021

Texas AM faces upstart Tarleton State

Field Level Media
02 Dec 2020, 09:40 GMT+10

Texas AM and visiting Tarleton State will look to build on dominating opening-game wins when they square off Wednesday in College Station, Texas.

The matchup will be a homecoming of sorts for Tarleton State coach Billy Gillispie, who coached Texas AM from 2004-07.

The Aggies (1-0) rolled to an 82-53 victory over New Orleans in their season debut on Sunday, extending their streak of season-opening wins to 20 games.

Quenton Jackson set a career high in points (28), 3-pointers made (four) and rebounds (seven) in the victory.

"Quenton has to be a catalyst for us," Texas AM coach Buzz Williams said of the senior guard. "So much of what I think Q's offense is derived from is his energy level and his discipline defensively. When he does what he is supposed to do defensively, I think it translates into his offensive game.

"Q knows the shots he needs to shoot and how we play. When he doesn't force up shots that we would consider bad, he is going to be even more efficient."

The win also produced several other career bests from Aggies players. Andre Gordon scored 15 points and was 3 of 5 from beyond the arc to match a career high in 3-pointers made. Savion Flagg tied his career high in assists with six and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds.

And Hassan Diarra had 14 points and six steals in his collegiate debut. His steals were the most by an Aggies player since 2015. Texas AM also forced 27 turnovers and recorded 16 steals.

Tarleton State (1-0), which plays in the Western Athletic Conference, routed Dallas Christian 103-48 last Wednesday in its long-awaited NCAA Division I debut, under Gillispie. The Texans forced a school-record 38 turnovers in the victory, 27 of which were steals, which also set a school mark.

Tahj Small posted a game-high 18 points, nine rebounds and four steals in his Tarleton debut. Small was one of 13 Texans to score in the game; four of them tallied in double figures.

"First games are always hard, especially when you have 15 new guys, and we certainly looked like it," said Gillispie, who won his first game as a Division I head coach since the 2011-12 season, when he was at Texas Tech. "But it was a fun night. I'm proud of our guys. We have a chance to get better, and we certainly will."

--Field Level Media

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