#1 KU Escapes A&M, 59-54

(AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In a game that had Jayhawks around the country holding their breath, the top-ranked University of Kansas men's basketball team edged No. 23 Texas A&M 59-54 in front of a record crowd of 13,657 in Reed Arena on Big Monday. Kansas improved to 25-1 overall and 11-0 in the Big 12 as Texas A&M fell to 18-7 and 7-4 in the league.

The win stopped a 16-game winning streak by Texas A&M in Reed Arena.
 
Three Jayhawks scored 12 points with Cole Aldrich adding 10 rebounds to pick up his sixth double-double in the last eight games. Marcus Morris and Xavier Henry also scored 12.
 
Kansas scored first on a bucket from Aldrich and led 8-2 less than three minutes into the contest. Texas A&M scored the next seven points to claim a 9-8 advantage. At the first TV timeout, the Aggies led 12-10. Aggie Donald Sloan scored eight points in the Texas A&M run.

Texas A&M's lead never got bigger than four. With the crowd at a fever pitch in reaction to a play that sent Aggie Dash Harris to the locker room with an injury after he fell awkwardly to the floor, Kansas temporarily quieted Reed Arena by scoring the next four points to reclaim a 20-18 lead on a Tyshawn Taylor driving layup with 8:23 left.
 
Neither team could create any separation with the lead changing hands seven times with eight ties in the first half alone. Over the last 11+ minutes of the period, the largest lead by either team was two.
 
A&M led 32-30 at halftime after a Sherron Collins three from the corner rimmed out at the buzzer.  Sloan led all scorers in the half with 12 points.  KU got six each from Henry, Marcus Morris and Aldrich. Texas A&M gained its biggest advantage of the half on the boards – outrebounding the Jayhawks 19-13 – and outdoing KU 9-4 on second chance points.
 
Intermission did little to dull the intensity as the second half picked up right where the first left off with the lead teeter-tottering back and forth.
 
Down 41-38, KU was dealt a blow when Marcus Morris picked up his fourth foul with 13:37 left in the half. A minute later, Tyrel Reed did what he does best when he tied the score on a trey from the right corner. Kansas got into more foul trouble when Markieff Morris picked up his fourth foul with 7:26 left.
 
For most of the second half, the game was either tied or Texas A&M held a narrow advantage.  With 3:33 left, Henry hit the second of two free throws to give KU a 55-54 advantage – a lead Kansas did not give up as it went on to win 59-54.
 
Along with his double-double, Aldrich became the KU single-season record holder in blocked shots as he increased his total to 98. Kansas shot 43.5 percent from the floor compared to 34.9 percent for Texas A&M. From three-point land, Kansas struggled to just 1-for-10 shooting. Also sticking out like a sore thumb was the rebounding, particularly on the offensive glass where Texas A&M pulled down 20 offensive boards.  Overall, Texas A&M led in rebounding 41-33.
 
In the end, Kansas picked up its 11th conference win to stay perfect in the Big 12 and move on.
 
Up next for Kansas is a home game on Saturday, Feb. 20 when it hosts Colorado at 3 p.m. on the Big 12 Network.

Story courtesy:  KUAC

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