COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Senior guard Duane Wilson scored 16 points and No. 8 Texas A&M escaped with a 64-58 victory over Northern Kentucky on Tuesday night.
The short-handed Aggies (10-1), missing injured starters Admon Gilder and Robert Williams, trailed 16-15 more than midway through the first half before stirring and outscoring the Norse 12-2 over the next 4 minutes. Northern Kentucky (7-5) stayed within reach and the game was tied at 44-44 with less than 8 minutes remaining.
Following a timeout, A&M scored the next five points on transition baskets by Savion Flagg and Wilson and a free throw from Tonny Trocha-Morelos. A&M held on the rest of the way in a too-close-for-comfort contest.
The Aggies played without Gilder (knee injury), a junior guard who isn’t expected to return until early in Southeastern Conference play in January. Williams (concussion), a sophomore, and fellow forward Isiah Jasey (concussion) and guard T.J. Starks (leg tightness) also didn’t play. All three are expected back soon, although Williams missed his second consecutive game.
Both teams were awful from long range in making a combined 9 of 48 3-point attempts, with the Aggies (2 of 20 for 10 percent) much worse than the Norse (7 of 28 for 25 percent) in that department. Tyler Davis added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Aggies.
Drew McDonald led the Norse with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Texas A&M: The Aggies received a heavy dose of realism in terms of how important Williams and Gilder are to their fortunes, especially on the defensive end. Simply, A&M will need the duo healthy if it hopes to contend for an SEC championship.
NKU: The Norse lost their second consecutive game, but will be buoyed by playing the nation’s No. 8 team so tight on the Aggies’ home court (even if it was a sparse, largely unenergetic crowd). After playing its last two nonconference games on the road, NKU has a chance at a strong start in the Horizon League with its first two games at home.
Texas A&M: The Aggies play the last of four consecutive home games on Thursday night when they play host to Buffalo. A&M has won the three previous games against Prairie View A&M, Savannah State and NKU by a combined 73 points in what figures to be its easiest stretch of the season, even if Tuesday night’s game was closer than anticipated.
NKU: The Norse wrapped up their nonconference schedule with two straight losses by a combined seven points, and will open Horizon League play on Dec. 28 at home against IUPUI.