By Greg DeVries
The Baylor men’s basketball team will play the Texas A&M Aggies for the 205th time at 8 p.m. today.
With Texas A&M going to the Southeastern Conference, it may be the last game these teams play for a while.
“Another game on the schedule,” head coach Scott Drew said. “I think at the end of the day, that’s what’s great about the Big 12. Every game is a war, and if you can’t get excited to play against the best competition night in and night out then you probably wouldn’t be at this level.”
Many people picked the Aggies to win the Big 12, but injuries and disappointing finishes have since left the Aggies at 12-8 and in seventh place in the conference standings.
“It’s [motivating] just playing in the rivalry,” senior Quincy Acy said. “Just going to play at [Texas] A&M gets you amped up. Every road game in the big 12 is like that.”
The Bears come into this game ranked No. 6 in the country. Having won two straight games, Baylor seems to have shaken off the consecutive losses to Kansas and Missouri.
Sophomore Perry Jones III has been playing his best basketball of the year lately. In the last two games, Jones III averaged 21.5 points and 13 rebounds, shooting close to 60 percent from the field.
Junior Elston Turner has been filling the stat sheet for the Aggies recently.
He has scored more than 20 points in the past three games. He is also shooting nearly 83 percent from the free-throw line.
As a team, the Aggies only score 63 points per game. That puts them at 278th in the country. They shoot about 44.5 percent from the field and have lost seven of their last 11 games.
Texas A&M’s defense is respectable, however. Baylor will need to score efficiently, and that means looking for the best shot on the floor.
“I think defensively they have gotten a little better,” Drew said. “They were really good to begin with. Coach [Billy] Kennedy is really known for his outstanding defense and I think his team has continued to get better on that side of the ball.”
Another concern for the Bears is the crowd at Reed Arena.
“They’re pretty hostile. Their fans do a good job of supporting their school and trying to get the other team out of their comfort zone,” Acy said.
Some players on Baylor’s roster, including freshman Quincy Miller, have never played in College Station.
“I didn’t know anything about the Baylor/A&M rivalry until I got here and [Quincy] Acy was the first one to tell me,” Miller said. “And I heard it is crazy how their fans interact with us on the court and how many calls you don’t get.”
A win against the Aggies would be Baylor’s 30th in College Station since 1914.