Aggie Basketball Game #18:
Texas A&M (12-5, 3-1 SEC) at Kentucky (13-4, 3-1 SEC)
Jan. 21, 2014 · 8:00 p.m. (CT)
Rupp Arena (23,000)
TV: ESPN (For more info - AggieAthletics.com/TV)
Brad Nessler, Play-by-Play
Jimmy Dykes, Commentary
Shannon Spake, Sidelines
RADIO: Texas A&M Radio Network
Dave South, Play-by-Play
Al Pulliam, Commentary
Local: WTAW-AM 1620 (College Station/Bryan)
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: AggieAthletics.com
LIVE MOBILE LIVE STATS: tamustats.com
COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M men’s basketball team will share the spotlight of a prime time national television audience Tuesday night when it returns to the court to face Kentucky in an 8 p.m. (CT) contest inside Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
The Aggies (12-5, 3-1 SEC) are seeking a return to the win column after suffering their first setback of league play on Saturday during an overtime loss at Mississippi State. Texas A&M enters the week sharing second place in the SEC standings alongside Georgia, Kentucky and Ole Miss.
Tuesday’s match-up will be televised on ESPN as part of its Super Tuesday coverage with Brad Nessler (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (commentary) calling all the action and Shannon Spake providing reports from the sidelines.
Additionally, the game can be heard on the Texas A&M Sports Network with local coverage in the Bryan-College Station area on WTAW (1620 AM).
During its hot start to SEC play, Texas A&M has received great contributions from a pair of new faces on its roster as both Jamal Jones and Davonte Fitzgerald stand out as two of the league’s top scorers.
Jones, a junior from Wynne, Ark., set a career high with 24 points during Saturday’s contest at Mississippi State to produce his third straight contest of 20 or more points. Jones has scored at least 14 points in each SEC game this season to rank second in the conference with an average of 20.8 points per SEC contest.
Fitzgerald, meanwhile, also produced a personal best against the Bulldogs by collecting 20 points. During league play, the freshman from Atlanta is averaging 13 points per outing off the A&M bench.
A season ago, the Aggies and Wildcats split a pair of memorable meetings with each squad winning on the road.
During their first meeting as SEC opponents it was Texas A&M who walked off the court at Rupp Arena as a winner, handing John Calipari his first home SEC loss during his tenure as Kentucky's coach. The Aggies’ senior Elston Turner stole the headlines as he scored 40 point in the 83-71 A&M victory to become just the third ever play to hit the 40-point mark against the ‘Cats at Rupp Arena.
Kentucky evened the score with a 72-68 overtime victory over the Aggies at Reed Arena later in the season.
This year, the Wildcats enter the week ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/Coaches’ Poll and No. 13 in the AP Top 25 with a 13-4 overall record and a 3-1 mark in league play. Kentucky is a perfect 11-0 at Rupp Arena this season.
• The Aggies enter the week at 3-1 in the SEC to sit in a second-place tie alongside Georgia, Kentucky and Ole Miss ... Florida tops the league standings with a perfect 4-0 mark in conference play.
• Texas A&M and Kentucky have met only five previous times on the hardwood, most recently splitting a pair of meetings last season with each team winning on the road.
• Last season's trip to Lexington was a memorable one for the Aggies as Elston Turner exploded for a career-best 40 points to lift the Aggies to a 83-71 win over the Wildcats ... The loss was the first home conference loss in John Calipari's tenure as Kentucky's coach and broke a string of 24 straight home SEC victories for the 'Cats.
• Kentucky evened the slate with a 72-68 overtime victory over the Aggies at Reed Arena on Feb. 2nd of last season ... A&M's Fabyon Harris had 14 points in the loss.
• Junior Jamal Jones turned in his fifth straight contest scoring in double-digits and his third straight 20-point performance with 24 points against Mississippi State on Saturday ... During SEC play, Jones is averaging 20.8 points per outing to rank second in the league.
• Freshman Davonte Fitzgerald continues to improve during his first season on the court for the Aggies ... The Atlanta, Ga., native contributed a career-best 20 points with a 7-of-15 mark from the field during Saturday's contest at Mississippi State.
• Sophomore Alex Caruso remains the SEC's leader in assists (88) and assists per game (5.2) while ranking fourth in steals per game (2.2).
SERIES HISTORY VS. KENTUCKY (UK LEADS 3-2)
• Tuesday will be the sixth meeting between the Aggies & Wildcats on the hardwood.
• The two schools first met during the 1941-42 season when the 'Cats earned a 49-29 victory.
• Last season, the two squads split a pair of meetings with each team winning on the road ... On Jan. 12, the two teams faced off at Lexington's Rupp Arena with A&M earning an 83- 71 victory ... It was the first-ever home SEC loss for the Wildcats under head coach John Calipari ... Kentucky evened the score with a 72-68 overtime win over the Aggies at Reed Arena on Feb. 2.
• A&M's Billy Kennedy is 1-1 against Kentucky.
• Kennedy's head coaching counterpart, UK's John Calipari, is 2-1 all-time against the Aggies ... Before last season, his lone contest against Texas A&M came on March 22, 2007, while coaching at Memphis ... The Tigers defeated the Aggies 65-64 during the NCAA Tournament's South Regional semifinal at San Antonio's Alamodome.
After two straight games on the road, the Aggies return to the friendly confines of Reed Arena on Saturday when they host Vanderbilt in a noon contest ... The game will be televised to a national audience on ESPNU.
TEXAS A&M AT UK TABBED FOR SUPER TUESDAY
ESPN has announced its Super Tuesday lineup for the 2014 SEC Men’s Basketball season and the SEC will be showcased every Tuesday during conference season, beginning on Jan. 7 and running through March 4.
Texas A&M’s contest at Kentucky on Jan. 21 is one of the highlighted contests and will be televised nationally by ESPN. Last season, the Aggies split a pair of meetings against UK including an impressive 83-71 win at Rupp Arena on Jan. 12 which made headlines as the first home SEC loss during the tenure of Wildcat head coach John Calipari.
CARUSO REACHES MILESTONE IN ASSISTS, APPROACHES 100 CAREER STEALS
In less than two seasons wearing a Texas A&M uniform, sophomore Alex Caruso has developed into one of the most dynamic players in the Southeastern Conference and recently achieved an impressive career milestone while standing on the verge of another.
The College Station, Texas, native collected his 200th assist at Mississippi State on Jan. 18th and enters the Kentucky game approaching a landmark career totals in steals (98). Caruso would become just the 18th member of Texas A&M's 100-Club and could become just the fifth Aggie to do so in just two seasons.
KOURTNEY JOINS 500-REBOUND CLUB
With a six-rebound performance on Jan. 8th against Arkansas, junior forward Kourtney Roberson joined a prestigious group in Aggie basketball history - the 500 Rebound Club.
The three-year letterwinner, who has seen his rebounding totals improve each season in Aggieland, became just the 24th player to accumulate more than 500 rebounds during his playing days at A&M.
Roberson enters the Mississippi State game with 509 career rebounds and Wayne Lawrence (511 rebounds from 1957-60) and Mike Cliffard (1983-87) by just two boards for 21st place all-time.
JONES FINDING HIS GROOVE OFFENSIVELY
Going into this season, Texas A&M coaches knew they would have a major hole to fill on the offensive end with the departure of graduated senior Elston Turner, who garnered first-team All-SEC honors last year. Junior college transfer Jamal Jones figured to be a big part of replacing Turner's offensive production and the Wynne, Ark., native has not disappointed.
After coming off the bench during the season's first eight contests, Jones' name was called when A&M's staff wanted to inject more offense into the starting lineup beginning with Dec. 4th's contest against Houston. The decision paid immediate dividends as Jones responded with 21 points against the Cougars., including seven 3-point baskets to leave him just one shy of the school record for a single game.
During Jan. 11th's contest at Tennessee, Jones was the Aggies' offensive catalyst as he scored 20 of his career-best 23 points during the second half to help A&M erase a 14-point deficit and claim a big road victory. Jones added 22 points vs. South Carolina on Jan. 15 and 24 at Mississippi State on Jan. 18 to give him three consecutive 20-point outings.
Jones enters Tuesday's tilt at Kentucky averaging 20.8 points per contest during SEC play, ranking him second in the league.
A year ago, Jones stood out as a one of the top junior college players in the country, averaging 18 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest while helping lead Lee College to the NJCAA Region 14 Championship.