Texas A&M gets one more tuneup game: Central Arkansas

Texas A&M will conduct its final tuneup for SEC play on Wednesday night when it hosts Central Arkansas at College State, Texas.

The Aggies (10-2) will look for their fourth consecutive victory, though the last one resembled a glorified scrimmage when they steamrolled Dallas Christian 102-52 Monday night.

The National Christian College Athletic Association program was lined up to replace a recently canceled game with Tulane due to the Green Wave’s COVID-19 issues. And it was a mismatch from the start, with the 50-point margin tying for fifth-largest in A&M history.

Texas A&M forced 33 turnovers, leading to 54 points. The Aggies topped 100 points for the first time since a 113-66 win over Savannah State on Dec. 13, 2017.

Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said he would have liked to have found a tougher replacement foe but said circumstances prevented it.

“I am thankful that all of this worked out from a logistical standpoint,” Williams said. “Losing the Tulane game to cancellation, we needed the game regardless of opponent. It is a small pool, as you are seeing, of teams that are able to play make-up games because of all the cancellations.”

Though the Aggies led 54-18 at halftime, guard Hayden Hefner said there was value to playing Dallas Christian.

“I think we worked on being aggressive,” Hefner said. “We have a lot of guys on our team who can play at a high level, so any chance you get to go in and play, you have to take advantage of it.”

Sixth-man guard Quenton Jackson (12.3 points per game) is the lone Texas A&M player averaging in double figures, with six other players averaging more than seven points.

Central Arkansas (2-9) hasn’t played since drubbing Division III Hendrix College 90-56 on Dec. 20. The victory halted a six-game losing streak.

The Bears’ other triumph is a 70-67 win over Oral Roberts, a team that reached last season’s NCAA Sweet 16.

But Central Arkansas, projected by Atlantic Sun Conference coaches to finish last in the league this season, lined up a rugged non-league schedule and has been on the wrong end of several blowouts, including 92-47 to now-No. 1 Baylor, 97-60 to Arkansas, 96-61 to Saint Louis and 85-53 to Butler.

Perhaps that’s why the win over Hendrix College was so pleasing to coach Anthony Boone.

“It’s a challenge this time of year for everybody who is still playing,” Boone said after the win. “But our guys came out and did a great job. We have pretty good leadership, and they wanted to come out and play well and get a good taste in their mouths before going home for Christmas.”

Darious Hall leads the Bears in scoring (12.9) and rebounding (6.7). Camren Hunter (12.0) also averages in double digits.

–Field Level Media