COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Texas A&M snapped a five-game losing streak with a 72-52 victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday night before 4,626 fans in Reed Arena.
Jamal Jones led the Aggies with 20 points and fellow forward Kourtney Roberson followed with 14. The Aggies (13-9, 4-5 SEC) and Bulldogs (13-9, 3-6) had lost eight consecutive games between them entering the contest, and A&M avenged an 81-72 overtime loss in Starkville, Miss., on Jan. 18 that kicked off the Aggies' losing streak.
MSU, in playing its first game in history in College Station, traded leads with A&M until early in the second half, when the Aggies pulled away thanks to a relentless 16-0 run. A&M's defense held the Bulldogs scoreless for more than 10 minutes in that stretch - from the 16:26 mark (36-35) to 6:08 (52-37).
The Aggies shot poorly from the 3-point line early (finishing 6 of 18 for 33.3 percent), but stayed in the game by outscoring the Bulldogs 40-14 in the paint and 22-1 in points off turnovers. The game's highlight occurred when A&M freshman Davonte Fitzgerald blocked a fast-break layup attempt by Fred Thomas that prompted a roar from the sparse crowd more than midway through the second half, with A&M clutching a 47-35 lead.
No MSU player even reached double digits in scoring until Thomas sank a 3-pointer with 3:20 remaining in the contest. He and Craig Sword paced the Bulldogs with 10 points each. The Aggies also forced 17 MSU turnovers while committing only six of their own.
The Bulldogs return home for consecutive contests against No. 18 Kentucky and Georgia on Saturday and Wednesday, respectively, while the Aggies play at Georgia on Saturday and return to Reed for a Wednesday contest against LSU.