PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Texas A&M came to the Bahamas this week wanting to be tested by the kind of games it may eventually face in March.
The Aggies like what they’ve found out about themselves so far.
Danuel House had 19 points, Anthony Collins scored 15 and No. 25 Texas A&M beat Texas 84-73 on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
It was the first meeting between the longtime Southwest and Big 12 Conference rivals since 2012. Texas A&M’s victory stopped a five-game winning streak in the series for the Longhorns.
“It showed us poise,” House said. “Coach told us they would have a run, and that we needed to stick together. … We look forward to being tested again.”
Eric Davis, Jr. led Texas with 19 points. Cameron Ridley added 14.
Texas played with the kind of pace on offense and press attack on defense that was a hallmark of first-year coach Shaka Smart’s teams at Virginia Commonwealth.
Texas threatened throughout the second half, pulling within two and three points on a handful of occasions. But the Aggies (5-0) turned them away each time, either by getting stops or manufacturing baskets on offense.
The Longhorns (1-2) also hurt their chances by going 22 for 37 at the foul line.
Smart said his team’s inability to take the lead in the second half was more about what it couldn’t do on the defensive end.
“We gotta get stops,” Smart said. “We just weren’t able to get stops when we needed them most.”
Both teams played the first half at the same hurried pace, rarely utilizing a prolonged half-court offensive set.
The Aggies tried to slow the game down in the second half as they accumulated fouls. Coach Bill Kennedy said their ability to make the extra pass on offense was pivotal.
“I thought we showed some unselfish plays,” Kennedy said. “And fortunately we made enough free throws down the stretch.”
Texas A&M: The Aggies went 8 for 22 from 3-point range. … Wednesday marked the 223rd meeting between the schools. Texas leads the overall series 137-86.
Texas: The Longhorns shot 45.8 percent (22 for 48).
Texas was whistled for 31 fouls, compared to 25 for Texas A&M. Smart acknowledged that referees seem to be calling more fouls this season because of changes to rules.
Some of the calls hurt potential Texas rallies, but Smart said it wasn’t an excuse.
“Obviously the officials made a decision to call the game tight,” he said. “I think the teams that adjust to the officials the best are the teams that are going to be the most successful.”
Both teams got big boosts from their reserves. The Longhorns’ backups had 36 points, led by Davis’ 19. Tevin Mack finished with eight. Texas A&M got 28 points from its reserves. Admon Gilder had 12 points in just 18 minutes, and Jalen Jones contributed nine points.
Texas A&M plays Gonzaga in the semifinals on Thursday
Texas plays Washington in the consolation round on Thursday.