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SEC Play begins

BY ANDRES FOCIL
SEC Play begins

The University of Arkansas basketball team begins Southeastern Conference play against a familiar foe on Wednesday night, Jan. 9 when it travels to College Station, Texas, to take on the Texas A&M Aggies at Reed Arena beginning at 8 p.m. The Aggies are playing their first Southeastern Conference game, but 146th conference contest against the Razorbacks as the pair trace their roots back to the Southwest Conference and a series that dates back to the 1923-24 season. Arkansas has dominated the overall series 95-51, but the two programs have faced off just one time since Arkansas left the SWC before the 1991-92 season, a game that Texas A&M won in Dallas, 71-62, in overtime. Arkansas (9-4) has won five straight games to end its non-conference season and the Razorback defense has improved with each game. After a brutal stretch of games against the likes of Arizona State, No. 24 Wisconsin, No. 6/5 Syracuse, Oklahoma and No. 3/3 Michigan, Razorback opponents are averaging just 62.6 points per game while the Arkansas offense has rolled to an average of 87.2 per contest. Part of what the Razorbacks have done to improve their overall numbers is put a renewed emphasis on rebounding and Arkansas has been able to win the battle of the boards in each of the last fi ve games. The Razorbacks have also gotten improved play on the interior from sophomore Hunter Mickelson who during that stretch is grabbing just under eight boards per contest. Junior Rickey Scott has also lifted his level of play and has gone five games without a turnover. Texas A&M (10-3) has been very good at home and is a tough defensive-minded squad who will be physical. Elston Turner (15.5 ppg) and Ray Turner (12.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) lead the way for the Aggies who are under second-year head coach Billy Kennedy. The Aggies have good wins over Washington State on a neutral court, on the road at Houston and over Northwestern State, but a puzzling loss at home to Southern and also fell to Oklahoma on a neutral court. The Razorback game against Texas A&M will be broadcast on the radio across the Razorback Sports Network from IMG College with Chuck Barrett and Rick Schaeffer giving the call. The game will also be carried live on ESPNU with Dari Nowkhah and Dino Gaudio on air.



Sports Category : Basketball (M)