DALLAS, Texas - Texas A&M seniors Donald Sloan and Derrick Roland haven't played in front of a hometown crowd in Dallas since their senior seasons at Seagoville High School, but Monday at Moody Coliseum the backcourt mates once again got to play in front of friends and family in their own backyard.
And the former Seagoville Dragons had a stellar homecoming as both scored over 20 points in leading the Aggies (2-0) to an 80-68 win in front of a pro-Aggie crowd of 6,729.
"I know they were excited to come home play, and they come play here in the summers so they know those guys pretty well," said A&M head coach Mark Turgeon. "I was happy for those guys. I wish it had been a little but better for Bryan, but David did a good job taking his minutes."
Although it was Sloan, Roland and fellow senior Bryan Davis' homecoming, SMU seemed set on spoiling the party after bursting out to a 6-0 lead. Led by forwards Papa Dia and Mouhammad Faye, the Mustangs took it to the Aggie paint, forcing Davis into foul trouble that plagued him throughout the evening.
Dia finished with 13 points and five rebounds while Faye had a team-high 21 points and six rebounds. Overall the dup limited Davis and A&M sophomore David Loubeau to 7-13 shooting combined with most of their 16 combined points coming on offensive putbacks. Davis would eventually foul out with nine points, six rebounds, one block with four turnovers in just 19 minutes.
"I thought Bryan was great until he started fouling, and it's the same stuff he's been doing for four years," Turgeon said. "Of course he doesn't think it's a foul but just not very smart - two in the backcourt I believe. But I thought our post guys were good once they settled down."
A&M's backcourt, however, got the Aggies back into the game when junior guard B.J. Holmes, nursing a deep thigh bruise suffered against Angelo State Friday and was a game time decision to play, entered the game and hit two quick 3's in succession. He would add one more in the half to get the Aggies back to even. Holmes would finish 3-10 from beyond the 3-point arc with 11 points.
Then Sloan took over. Whether it was with the deep ball or off the dribble or with a fade away jumper, SMU didn't have an answer for the senior. Sloan paced A&M with 16 first half points to give A&M a 10-point lead at halftime.
"I'm obviously pleased with my team. I liked the way we finished both halves. We finished the first half well and closed out the second half well after starting out a little bit slow," Turgeon said. "I thought SMU really played well. They made a lot of tough shots. I was a little disappointed in our field goal percentage defense, but besides that I was happy. Obviously Sloan and D-Ro stepped up."
SMU, however, wouldn't go away easily. Faye would have 15 second half points and shot 3-3 from beyond the 3-point arc in the half while sophomore guard Paul McCoy got to the rim off the dribble with a few circus shots in between to pull the Mustangs within four at 50-46. SMU finished the game shooting 50-percent from the field.
But then Roland got into the act on the both ends of the floor. In open space Roland got the rim, drawing three-point plays twice in succession down the floor on his way to 21 points, 17 in the second half. Roland was also 8-8 from the free throw line. The Aggies shot 80-percent (24-30) on the night while SMU shot just 56.3-percent (9-16) from the charity strip.
"I've been working on a lot of this stuff this offseason. This just happened to be one of those nights where I was able to showcase it," Roland said. "I'm going to do what my team needs me to do. If it's a night that I don't need to score and I just need to execute and my teammates score then so be it, but if it's a night that I need to step up and score then I will."
The Aggies next face Samford (0-3) Friday at 7 p.m. at Reed Arena.