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GAMETHREAD: #19 LSU at Texas A&M, 8 PM, ESPN2

Tigers try to close out the month of January undefeated

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana State at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After escaping Missouri with a miraculous win, the No. 19 Tigers of LSU return to the court and try to push their winning streak to 10 consecutive games and keep pace with Tennessee atop the SEC.

Standing in the way of an undefeated January for LSU is Texas A&M, a team that has fallen back down to earth after last year’s Sweet 16 run. The Aggies come into tonight’s contest at 8-10 overall and 1-5 in conference. A&M had dropped it’s previous three conference games to Auburn, Missouri and Florida before snapping that losing streak with a win over Kansas State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Sophomore guard TJ Starks leads the Aggies in both scoring, with nearly 13 points, and assists with about four a night. Starks cracked double digit points for the 14th time this season after scoring 12 against Kansas State this past Saturday. Texas A&M’s leading rebounder is Christian Mekowulu, a grad-transfer from Tennessee State. Mekowulu has pulled down 43 offensive rebounds and 52 defensive boards.

While Starks is A&M’s leading scorer for the year, JUCO transfer Wendell Mitchell has been leading the way for the Aggies in conference play with 14 points a game, including a 22-point second half explosion against Kansas State. Texas A&M’s top two bench players are junior forward Josh Nebo, who ranks second in the conference in blocked shots with 2.6, and sophomore guard Jay Jay Chandler who is scoring nearly nine points a contest.

Since joining the conference in 2012, Texas A&M leads the all-time series against LSU with seven wins to LSU’s six; while historically speaking the home team has dominated the match-up, with A&M winning 10 of of 13 games in College Station. However, the last time LSU went to Texas A&M, Tremont Waters hit a deep three with 0.3 seconds left to stun the then-No. 11 Aggies.

LSU needs to keep the momentum going because February is shaping up to be a tough month for the Tigers. Looming for LSU are trips to Mississippi State and Kentucky and home dates with Arkansas, Auburn and the current No. 1 team in the nation, the Vols of Tennessee. The Tigers have been rolling so far, but as Will Wade said in light of LSU’s miracle comeback against Missouri “We don’t want to keep pressing our luck.”