GAME NOTES: The Arkansas Razorbacks will try to wrap up the 2012-13 regular season on a high note, as they welcome the Texas A&M Aggies to Bud Walton Arena for an SEC showdown.
Texas A&M has been slipping in the standings as the season winds down, having lost three of its last four games. The Aggies dropped a home matchup with LSU on Wednesday night, 68-57, to fall to 17-13 overall and just 7-10 in league action.
Arkansas is also coming off a loss, getting thoroughly embarrassed by Missouri on the road this past Tuesday, 93-63. It has been a tale of two seasons for the Razorbacks, who are 18-12 overall and 9-8 in the SEC. They have dreadful on the road, going just 1-9, but at home they have been flat-out dominant at 17-1.
Arkansas leads the all-time series with Texas A&M, 96-51, but the two teams have met just once since 1991, with the Hogs winning in 2010, 71-62.
The Aggies couldn't hold off LSU down the stretch in their recent 11-point loss. They shot a respectable 42.6 percent from the field, but they allowed the Tigers to net greater than 48 percent of its shots, and they also lost precious possessions by committing an uncharacteristic 18 turnovers. Ray Turner was stellar in the paint for Texas A&M, tallying 16 points and 13 rebounds. Fabyon Harris contributed 12 points off the bench, while Elston Turner and Alex Caruso produced 11 and 10 points, respectively. Scoring points has been an issue for the Aggies all season long, as their 64.0 ppg average ranks 10th in the league, but luckily its strong scoring defense (61.7 ppg) is able to keep the majority of its games close. Elston Turner is in an elite scorer, ranking third in the SEC with 17.7 ppg, while Harris serves as a solid second option with 11.8 ppg. Ray Turner (9.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Kourtney Roberson (6.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) give the team a solid foundation down low.
The Razorbacks found themselves down by 26 points at intermission and their fate was never in question from that point forward as they dropped a 30-point decision to Missouri earlier in the week. They simply had no answer for the hot-shooting Tigers, who connected on 58 percent of their field goal attempts while outscoring the Hogs at the foul line, 28-5. While none of his teammates reached double figures, BJ Young put together an outstanding effort in the loss, pouring in 27 points on 11-of-18 from the field. On the season, Arkansas has one of the top scoring offenses in the league (73.8 ppg), but it has gone cold in recent weeks, scoring less than that average in six straight games and 10 of the last 12 overall. The squad is paced by one of the league's best inside-outside combos in Young and Marshawn Powell. Young pours in 15.6 ppg on 44.9 percent field goal shooting, while Powell patrols the paint with 14.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg and more than a block and a steal per game. The Razorbacks' reserves also play a big role, as nine others average between 3.4 ppg and 7.6 ppg.
Texas A&M's first season in the SEC has been more of a struggle than it had anticipated, and don't expect things to change against an Arkansas squad with one of the best home court advantages in the country.
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