Texas A&M helped get its Big 12 campaign back on track with a win over Texas last month, and now it hopes for a similar jolt.
The 22nd-ranked Aggies will be trying to bounce back from their first loss in six games on Monday when they visit the No. 7 Longhorns.
Texas A&M (20-5, 6-4 Big 12) beat then-No. 10 Texas 80-63 in College Station on Jan. 30 to improve to 3-3 in conference play. The win came four days after a 59-56 victory at Oklahoma State that ended a demoralizing three-game losing streak.
The Aggies lost by 15 points at Texas Tech on Jan. 16 and 21 points at Kansas State three days later before falling in five overtimes to Baylor on Jan. 23.
“This helps a lot,” Josh Carter said after scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the win over Texas. “I think some of us lost some confidence with the losses.”
The Aggies used the momentum they gained in that win to reel off three more victories before Saturday’s 59-54 home loss to the Cowboys ended their five-game winning streak.
Texas A&M was outrebounded for the first time in six games.
“It’s disappointing,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “We’ve been a hustle team. We’ve been guarding well and rebounding well. I kept waiting for the light to come on.”
Carter, who averages a team-leading 13.1 points, was held to eight but made two of four 3-point attempts to improve to 9-of-18 over his last three games.
Bouncing back against Texas (21-4, 8-2) this time likely won’t be easy for Texas A&M, which has dropped five straight in Austin since an 80-74 win on Jan. 23, 2002. Since the beginning of the 2004-05 season, neither team has won on the other’s home court.
The Longhorns have won six straight at home, where they are 13-1 this season. The Aggies, meanwhile, are 3-3 in true road games, but have won their last three.
Since losing to the Aggies, the Longhorns have won five straight, including Saturday’s 82-77 win at Baylor. Damion James had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Texas, which had five players score in double figures.
However, the Longhorns did show signs of fatigue, allowing Baylor to nearly come back from a 14-point deficit in the final 3 minutes.
“Everybody gets tired,” said D.J. Augustin, who had eight points and 10 assists. “We were out there trying to fight through it and doing what we had to do to win. I have great teammates that stepped up and were doing their job, and that is why we got a win.”
Texas has kept winning despite the recent struggles of top scorers Augustin and A.J. Abrams.
Augustin has shot 3-of-25 from the field over the last two games, getting held to an average of 9.0 points, but he still leads the team with 18.8 per game. Abrams averages 17.5 points, though he’s been held below 15 in back-to-back games after a three-game stretch during which he averaged 22.3.
Texas has averaged 73.8 points during its five-game winning streak - more than three points below its season average.
The Longhorns’ ability to win without posting big offensive numbers could be helpful as they go up against a Texas A&M team holding opponents to 61.2 points per game and a league-low 38.1 percent from the field.