Texas AM will be playing for a share of second place in the Southeastern Conference race when it hosts struggling Vanderbilt on Saturday night in College Station, Texas.
The unranked Aggies (14-6, 6-1 SEC) are 8-1 since losing at home to Wofford in December and are a half-game back of No. 4 Tennessee in the standings. The Volunteers are 7-1 in league play and have a nonconference outing against Texas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge this weekend.
No. 2 Alabama sits alone atop the standings at 8-0 and also plays in the Challenge at Oklahoma.
The lone loss for AM this month was a 76-67 setback at Kentucky last weekend, and the Aggies bounced back from that with a dominating 79-63 win Wednesday night at No. 15 Auburn, ending the Tigers' home-winning streak at 28 games.
Coach Buzz Williams said on the Aggie Network postgame show that rebounding and taking care of the basketball were big factors.
"They (Kentucky) force 14 and a half turnovers that equates to about 22 percent of the possessions you're giving it to them," Williams said. "(Against Auburn) we played 66 possessions and we turned it over nine times. I don't know what that percentage is, but it is dramatically better than the 23 percent that we turned it over at Kentucky."
Tyrece Radford had a huge night with 30 points and nine rebounds as the Aggies won the boards 33-28, with nine coming at their offensive end. With Auburn charged with 13 turnovers, the Aggies got off 55 shots, making 26, to the Tigers' 21-of-49 effort.
After an 85-82 win at Georgia last Saturday, Vanderbilt (10-10, 3-4) came up empty in a 69-53 loss at Kentucky on Tuesday night.
With forwards Liam Robbins (bone bruise and foot sprain) and Lee Dort (foot) out with injuries, the Commodores had no answer for Kentucky big men Oscar Tshiebwe (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Jacon Toppin (12, 10).
Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse also lamented his team's selfish play and lack of defensive effort in the loss.
"We'll go back to the drawing board," Stackhouse said. "We'll get back to work and focus on this weekend."
--Field Level Media