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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Coogs lose to Aggies 70-59

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Coogs crushed on the glass 40-26 and outscored 40-14 in the paint

POSTED: December 1, 2012 -- 9:32 p.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Hofheinz Pavilion) -- The Houston Cougars weren't tough enough to defeat the Texas A&M Aggies Saturday evening inside a raucous 6,423 fans gathered inside Hofheinz Pavilion. In addition to being man-handled 40-26 on the boards and outscored 40-14 in the paint, the Coogs squandered too many opportunities to win the ball game and were defeated 70-59 by the Aggies.

After the game, Cougar guard J.J. Thompson and swingman Danuel House both said the Aggies played tougher than their team did.

In the first half, the Aggies (6-1) were definitely more aggressive than the Cougars (5-2). Aggie big men Ray Turner and Kourtney Roberson played volleyball with the basketball and combined for 11 rebounds in the first half. Those 11 rebounds between them were one more rebound than the 10 boards grabbed by the Coogs. The Aggies owned a 21-10 rebounding edge in the opening half.

Despite the poor rebounding, the Coogs trailed the Aggies 30-24 with less than three minutes remaining til halftime. Danuel House rebounded a missed shot by the Aggies' Elston Turner; but, with a chance to pull closer, House turned the ball over and Aggie guard Fabyon Harris scored a layup which started a 12-0 run by the Aggies to end the first half.

The Coogs trailed 42-24 at halftime. The Aggies shot a blistering 61.3% (19 for 31) from the floor and outscored the Coogs 30-4 in the paint.

Yes, 30 to 4 in the paint. The Aggies scored more points in the paint than the Coogs scored in the first half.

Leon Gibson (2) and TaShawn Thomas (0) were non-factors on the boards for the Cougars.

In addition to the woeful rebounding, the Cougars were not efficient on offense and settled for far too many perimeter shots (which they missed). The Cougars made 8 of 24 field goal attempts (33.3%) in the opening 20 minutes.

A much more aggressive Cougars' squad played in the second half; but, the Cougars had too many missed opportunities and they failed to take advantage of the Aggies 10 for 29 field goal shooting. Each time the Cougars pulled close, Elston Turner buried a big three-point shot or a baseline jumper.

Turner scored a game-high 26 points (10 for 21 overall, 4 for 9 from three). Ray Turner added 14 points and 11 rebounds while Roberson chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds.

Leon Gibson finished the game with only four points and two rebounds in 17 minutes. TaShawn Thomas scored six points and was credited with five boards.

J.J. Thompson scored a team-high 16 points for the Coogs. Danuel House added 10 points and six rebounds; however, Thompson and House each turned the ball over four times. Jherrod Stiggers provided a spark with 12 points off the bench (4 for 8 from three); but, the Cougars never got closer than seven points in the second half.

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