New faces help Texas A&M get past New Mexico 64-51
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy hoped he’d have a few new players with him on his roster this week when the Aggies traveled to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
He finally got them on the tournament’s final day, and it turned out to be great timing.
Danuel House had 18 points and Texas A&M rallied from 12 points down to beat New Mexico 64-51 to give the Aggies fifth place in the three-day tournament.
Jalen Jones added 13 for the Aggies (4-1), who shot 62 percent from the field in the second half.
It was the first game for House, a transfer from Houston, who was just approved to play this season by the NCAA on Friday.
In all, the Aggies had three new players on the court Sunday. Joining House were freshman Tonny Trocha-Morelos, from Cartagena, Columbia and sophomore Dylan Johns, from England.
“The first half I thought it took us a little while to adjust, and then our guys picked it up another level defensively and it helped in transition,” Kennedy said.
The Lobos (3-2) seemed to be in control early, but were undone late by turnovers, finishing with 16 for the game. New Mexico’s shooting also deteriorated in the second half and was just 34 percent by game’s end.
“We were getting wide open great shots and I knew at one point we’d make them,” Kennedy said. “You just don’t win with good coaches. You gotta have good players.”
Deshawn Delaney led New Mexico with 13 points. Hugh Greenwood added 10.
It was the culmination of a tough week for the Lobos, who lost starting point guard and leading-scorer Cullen Neal to a sprained left ankle in their tournament opener.
Texas A&M didn’t take its first lead of the game until the 13:41 mark of the second half, on a dunk by House.
The Aggies picked up the pace and extended that lead to 15 — 61-46 — with less than four minutes to play thanks to a 27-12 run that included eight points by House.
The Lobos weren’t able to respond after that.
“It was two tales of two halves...We didn’t answer their intensity,” New Mexico coach Craig Neal said. “They didn’t take their punch in the second half to respond. And we really couldn’t get anything going. You can’t continually lose four-minute game after four-minute game and think you’re gonna win. It starts adding up.”
New Mexico had the early offensive flow, using an 11-0 run to open up a 22-10 lead late in the first half.
Delaney had six of his 10 first-half points during the spurt.
Texas A&M trailed by just five at the break, though, after getting 18 points from its reserves in the opening 20 minutes.
Texas A&M: The Aggies had 16 assists on 24 made field goals for the game.
New Mexico: The Lobos fell to 204-129 overall against schools from the state of Texas.
The Aggies host New Orleans on Nov. 28. The Lobos host USC on Nov. 30.