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LSU knocks off No. 15 Texas A&M as the Aggies’ freefall continues

Alex Caruso, Antonio Blakeney

Texas A&M guard Alex Caruso (21) lays up a shot after stealing the ball as LSU guard Antonio Blakeney (2) watches during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)


LSU earned an important SEC home win and continued a recent slide for No. 15 Texas A&M as the Tigers pulled off the 76-71 win on Saturday afternoon. The win means that LSU (16-9, 9-3) is tied atop the SEC standings with Kentucky after both teams won on Saturday afternoon. With the loss, Texas A&M continues its recent struggles as they’ve now lost five of their last six games and don’t look like the potential Final Four contender we were glowing about a few weeks ago.

Coming off of a road loss to South Carolina earlier this week, LSU bounced back with an impressive, balanced effort as this game wasn’t just freshman superstar Ben Simmons having a big outing. While Simmons finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals, he had plenty of help from his teammates as Craig Victor (16 points), Keith Hornsby (13 points) and Antonio Blakeney (10 points) all finished in double-figures.

Texas A&M (18-7, 7-5) struggled once again as senior point guard Anthony Collins barely played due to a stomach virus and Jalen James (12 points) wasn’t 100 percent healthy either with a hip pointer. The loss of Collins was especially hurtful for the Aggies as his absence helped contribute to 19 Texas A&M turnovers as they were once again sloppy with the ball. Despite shooting a solid 55 percent (29-for-52) from the floor the turnovers killed Texas A&M. Danuel House paced the Aggies with 18 points while Alex Caruso contributed 14 points.

This win was very timely for LSU because they stay in the SEC race and their schedule is rather favorable for the rest of the regular season. The Tigers still have Florida at home (where LSU has been very tough) and Kentucky on the road, but the rest of the schedule looks like winnable games and the Texas A&M win should boost LSU’s postseason profile.

It doesn’t get any easier for Texas A&M the next few games as they get Ole Miss and then have to host red-hot Kentucky. Turnovers have been a huge issue for the Aggies during this five-game SEC losing streak, as they’ve averaging 15.4 per game during that stretch. Clearly, Texas A&M needs to tighten things up on offense and get more quality looks for their potentially potent group because the miscues are really hurting them.