COLLEGE STATION (AP) -- Elston Turner scored 15 points and Fabyon Harris added 14 in his Texas A&M debut as the Aggies cruised to a 71-59 win over Louisiana Tech on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Texas A&M was up by five before using a 9-3 spurt to stretch its lead to 39-28 with about 15 1/2 minutes left. A 3-pointer by Turner sparked that run, and the Bulldogs missed eight shots in that span.
That wasn't the end of Louisiana Tech's shooting woes. The Bulldogs made just one of their first 11 shots in the second half as A&M pushed the lead to 44-32 with about 11 minutes remaining.
Harris joined the Aggies after two seasons at the College of Southern Idaho. He averaged 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds last season.
Louisiana Tech was led by Raheem Appleby's 20 points and Brandon Gibson had 13.
Freshman J'Mychal Reese, who was rated the No. 1 high school point guard in Texas as last season, started in his A&M debut and had six points, three rebounds and two assists.
It's the first meeting between these two teams since a 75-59 win by A&M in 2006 in College Station.
Texas A&M's Kourtney Roberson looked good in his first game since breaking his left ankle after playing just nine games last season, and had 12 points and six rebounds. He helped the Aggies dominate inside, and they outscored Louisiana Tech 32-14 in the paint.
Texas A&M was up by one in the first half Friday before using an 11-2 run to extend the lead to 22-12 about 6 1/2 minutes before halftime. Harris made five points in that span.
The Aggies led 30-25 at halftime.
Texas A&M Basketball
Texas A&M 71, Louisiana Tech 59
Nov. 9, 2012 ● Reed Arena
TEAM RECORDS & SERIES NOTES
● Texas A&M begins the season 1-0 while Louisiana Tech falls to 0-1.
● For the Aggies it's their 12th consecutive season-opening win and 13th straight win in a home opener.
● Since 1945, A&M is 57-11 (.838) in home openers.
● Texas A&M now leads the all-time series with Louisiana Tech 4-2 ... A&M also holds a two-game winning streak over the Bulldogs, tying for the longest win streak by either school in the series.
● The Aggie defense held the Bulldogs to just 35.7% shooting on the night (20-of-56), while converting 43.6 percent of their shots (24-of-55) ... A&M forced 15 LA Tech turnovers, including nine in the opening half.
● Texas A&M held a 30-25 lead at the intermission before outscoring the Bulldogs 41-34 in the second half.
● Four Aggies made their A&M debut on Friday night (Alex Caruso, Fabyon Harris, J'Mychal Reese, Andrew Young).
● RS sophomore Kourtney Roberson scored the first points of the 2012-13 season with a layup at the 17:49 mark of the first half.
● Senior Elston Turner led the Aggies in scoring with 15 points, including 13 in the second half ... It marked the 16th time he has led Texas A&M in scoring during the last two seasons.
● A&M head coach Billy Kennedy is now 15-18 in his second season at Texas A&M and 226-197 in 15 years as a head coach.
FIRST HALF NOTES
● Texas A&M led 30-25 after 20 minutes of play.
● The Aggies shot 10-of-24 (41.7%) in the first half as compared to 10-of-29 (34.5%) for the Bulldogs.
● A&M held a 30-25 edge in the rebounding column, led by Kourtney Roberson and Ray Turner, who each had four.
● The biggest lead of the half by either team was a 10-point advantage for the Aggies at the 6:24 mark ... The lead was the culmination of an 11-2 run by A&M that started with 10:54 remaining in the period.
● Junior guard Fabyon Harris led the Aggies in scoring during the opening half, scoring 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting and a 4-of-4 mark from the free throw line.
SECOND HALF NOTES
● The Aggies dished out eight assists on 14 second half made field goals.
● Senior Elston Turner, who was held to just two points in the game's first 20 minutes, made 5-of-9 shots after halftime for 13 second half points.
● Texas A&M's biggest lead of the night was 17 points which it held on two occasions, at the 6:37 mark on a 3-pointer by Elston Turner which made it 62-45 and at the 5:13 mark when the Aggies took a 64-47 advantage on a lay-up by J'Mychal Reese.
● After going 1-of-7 from 3-point range in the first half, the Aggies were 4-of-8 from long distance in the second period.
● The Aggies host Troy on Monday night at Reed Arena in a 7 p.m. contest.
● Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, will return to Rustin, La., to host UALR in its home opener on Nov. 14.
Texas A&M Basketball
Texas A&M 71, Louisiana Tech 59
Nov. 9, 2012 ● Reed Arena
Texas A&M Head Coach Billy Kennedy
"I'm very proud of our guys to get their first win against a good team. Louisiana Tech won 18 games last year and made it to their conference finals. I was proud of the way the guys fought and competed, especially on the defensive end. I thought we did a really nice job."
On the start of the second half:
"We ran a play for Elston and we executed. He hit a big shot. In the first half, we would get up nine or ten and we had a tough time finding a group we could stick with. They're a tough matchup with their size and athleticism. I was proud of our guys for finding a way to fight through and get a win."
On Kourtney Roberson's return:
"We had a presence in the post. I thought Kourtney did some great things and I thought Andrew Young was really good in the second half. I was really proud of Alex Caruso. I thought he provided a spark on the defensive end. He made some nice plays. I thought the guards were good. Early in the season when you play against a pressing team that's athletic and quick and only have 12 turnovers, four in the second half, that was key."
On the improvement from the exhibition game:
"Through the first 15 minutes of the first half they only had 12 points. They closed out the first half because of our turnovers. We had some good minutes tonight, but we've got to get where we can do it for the whole game. Hopefully, we'll get more consistent play out of Kourtney and Ray. Those are two good guys that have Division I experience. Ray can play better. That's the great thing is that he can still get better."
Texas A&M Forward Kourtney Roberson
On being on the court again:
"It felt great. I was telling our guys today that it's been almost a year since I last played and that I had to come out and show them what they were missing last year. When I scored my first two points, I told Elston 'I'm back.'"
Texas A&M Guard Elston Turner
On his slow start:
"First half I wasn't trying to force anything. I knew they were going to focus on me and I was trying to get everyone else involved. In the second half, my teammates told me they were going to look for me so I took advantage of it."
On the defensive performance:
"We wanted to make it tough for them. They had their four guards out there against our two big men and three guards so we just tried to keep them in front and contest their shots. We got a hand up in just about every single shot they took. For the most part, we played pretty good defense in the first half. We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds, but for the most part we held them to one shot. They scored 12 points in the first 15 minutes of the game."
On the newcomers performance:
"I feel like the new guys all got off to a good start in their first game. Fabyon played great. I really like the way Alex played today. He was really active in hitting shots and in transition. J-Mych was pushing the ball. For the first game, I love the way those guys played."
On the team's mindset going into this season:
"We've harped on it forever, last year was last year. We have a new team this year and we're moving forward."
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Michael White
"It was a tough loss. This was a game that I thought we could be competitive in with the way we finished last season. We've really been playing well. I thought we'd come out with a lot of energy and excitement with the opportunity to play an SEC opponent. We did for 20 or 25 minutes. We struggled a little bit offensively at times. Our energy level dropped a little bit, and I think a lot of that has to do with how well Texas A&M defended. They were really good in their half-court and man. They did a good job on the offensive glass as well and I think those were the biggest keys to their victory."
On the second half:
"Our shooting was cold for about 40 minutes. Coach Kennedy's teams have always defended well, especially in the half court. They're very sound. They make you beat them with jump shots. We made a few, but not enough. To go on the road in a place like this against a team of this quality, you have to take advantage of your open looks. Their team got stronger. Our defense let down a little bit. It's tough to play with the same energy level an entire game."
On playing the smaller lineup:
"We feel like that's our advantage right now in where we are with the building of this program. We're very inexperienced in our front line. We have a decent amount of depth and experience in our backcourt. We have a couple big guards that can throw their bodies around and be pretty effective on the glass. We held our own when you look at the total rebounding numbers."
On what to take away from a game like this:
"Watching the film, for the most part, will be what we take out of it. I think to a certain extent when we're able to view the film and see all the things we could've done a little bit better. The bottom line is having lost by 12 points to a very quality opponent should give us a lot of confidence as we continue our non-conference and go into the WAC. These guys are text book defensively and we didn't take advantage of a couple of opportunities that we had."