COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Army (6-6) held Texas A&M (9-3) without a field goal during the final four minutes, 34 seconds, but the Aggies scored their last eight points from the free throw line to claim a 61-55 victory at Reed Arena Saturday evening.
Fabyon Harris's three free throws with 43.3 seconds left put Texas A&M on top for good, and the Aggies tacked on four more down the stretch to set the margin of victory. Army did not score during the final 2:25 after a basket by freshman Kyle Wilson gave them a 55-53 lead.
Wilson scored a game-high 15 points, including 11 in the second half. He scored the Black Knights' final six points. Plebe Kyle Toth was also in double figures with 13 points, including three of Army's six three-pointers. Rookie Dylan Cox grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, while classmate Larry Toomey had five rebounds, five assists, a blocked shot and two steals. Army's freshmen accounted for 39 of Army's 55 points.
The Black Knights outshot the Aggies, 40.0 percent to 33.9 percent, but 19 offensive rebounds led to 19 second-chance points for Texas A&M. The Aggies held a 42-36 overall rebounding edge. The Black Knights outscored the Aggies in the paint 26-20.
Harris led the home team with 12 points, while Ray Turner added 11. Elston Turner scored 10 points, but Army kept the 2012 honorable mention All-Big 12 pick to six below his season average on just 3-for-11 shooting. Andrew Young and Alex Caruso led the team with eight rebounds, while Elston Turner's five assists were a team high.
Trailing by three at the half, Army weathered a 7-3 run that gave the Aggies a 38-31 lead 16:38 left in the game. A three-pointer by Toth stopped the momentum and ignited a 9-1 Army spurt that gave the Black Knights a 40-39 at the 13:48 mark. After the Aggies tied the game at 40-40, senior forward Ella Ellis hit his only three-pointer of the game to put the Blakc Knights back on tip.
Harris answered with a three-pointer to tie the game, but Army took a 45-43 lead. Harris again responded from long range, putting the Aggies up by one with 8:48 left. The lead continued to swing with four straight Army points that put the Black Knights on top 49-46 after a Kevin Ferguson tip-in with 7:35 left.
Texas A&M tied the game once again, but consecutive field goals by Wilson gave Army a 53-49 lead with 5:15 showing on the second half clock. The margin was short-lived as Ray Turner converted two straight baskets to once again tie the game. His game-tying basket was the Aggies' last field goal of the contest. Wilson gave Army a 55-53 lead before Texas A&M's game-winning free throw spurt.
Army was still up by a point when the Aggies rebounded a missed free throw that led to Harris's game-winning foul shots. The Black Knights had a chance to tie or take the lead, but turned it over on its next possession.
The first half was much like the second. The game was tied four times and changed hands six times in the first 20 minutes. Army's largest lead came at the 16:10 mark after a 7-1 run gave them a 10-5 advantage. The Aggies did not lead by more than three until the 1:03 mark, and took a 31-28 lead into intermission. Toth scored eight of his points in the opening period.
Army's 55 points stopped a string of five straight games scoring at least 67 points. The Aggies entered the game ranked 49th in the country, allowing just 59.5 points per game.
Army is back in action on Monday, Dec. 31 at Houston Baptist. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. ET.
Game Notes: Larry Toomey's assists, steals, rebounds and blocks all matched or set career highs … Saturday's game was the first meeting between the two teams on the hardwood and Army's first game against an SEC team since the 1998-99 season opener versus Vanderbilt … several former players were in attendance, including Mitch McDonald, Randy Cozzens and Nate Hedgecock … Dylan Cox, Army's point guard, is averaging 9.5 rebounds per game in his last two outings … he is the team's top rebounder for the season … junior Josh Herbeck, Army's third-leading scorer, did not play due to injury