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Texas A&M tests Prairie View A&M in warmup for SEC play


Texas A&M is looking to head into SEC play on a winning streak as it hosts Prairie View A&M Saturday night in College Station, Texas.

The Aggies (8-4) snapped a brief two-game skid by knocking off Houston Christian 79-52 on Dec. 22 and now face a program against which they are unbeaten.

Texas A&M is 5-0 in the all-time series against Prairie View, including an 86-66 victory last season in College Station.

The Aggies, who are receiving votes in the AP poll, should be in good spirits following the victory over HCU. Hayden Hefner scored a career-high 24 points, while Andersson Garcia set a career best with 19 rebounds.

Jace Carter also had a standout game, registering his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Garcia’s play garnered the most praise afterward from coach Buzz Williams, who sees him as the Dominican Dennis Rodman.

“I think he’s unbelievable,” Williams said. “I think he impacts the game without the ball more than any player I’ve coached.”

Wade Taylor IV remains the go-to scoring option for the Aggies, averaging 17.9 points in 12 games.

Prairie View (5-7) is coming off a 103-89 loss to UTSA on Thursday. That’s the second-most points the Panthers have allowed this season. Iowa State scored 107 points on them Dec. 10.

Coach Byron Smith spoke with Houston Roundball Review before the season on the difficult nonconference schedule.

“As most mid-majors and schools at our level, you want to go out and play against really good competition,” he said. “There’s some really good teams to really get us prepared … It’s a good, competitive schedule.”

In the loss against UTSA, the Panthers were led by Chris Felix Jr., who had 19 points and two steals. Javontae Hopkins, a guard, posted a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Charles Lane Jr. also had 15 points, and Nicholas Gazelas scored 14.

For the season, Charles Smith IV has been the team’s leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points, followed by Hopkins (12.2) and Felix Jr. (11.7).

Texas A&M opens SEC play at home against LSU Jan. 6; the Panthers open SWAC play at Grambling State, also Jan. 6.

–Field Level Media

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