|Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy, left, shakes hands with forward Kourtney Roberson, right, before an NCAA college basketball game against Southern Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in College Station, Texas. Kennedy coached his first game of the season after recently being diagnosed with early stage Parkinson's disease. Texas A&M beat Southern 83-58. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)|
Southern's Banks glad Kennedy on Aggies' bench
COLLEGE STATION, Texas—If Southern coach Roman Banks had to lose No. 20 Texas A&M on Sunday, he was at least glad that former boss and current Aggies coach Billy Kennedy was on the opposing sideline.
Junior forward Ray Turner scored 20 points for the second straight game and A&M beat Southern 83-58 Sunday in Kennedy's first game since being diagnosed last month with Parkinson's disease.
"The best thing about today was seeing my old boss and a very good friend of mine back on the sideline," said Banks, a former Kennedy assistant at Southeastern Louisiana. "I had to get over that emotion and then concentrate on the game. For me that was more important, to see him out there than the game at that point."
The 47-year-old Kennedy had taken a leave of absence from the program under doctor's orders. Associate head coach Glynn Cyprien had led the Aggies in practice and in their season-opening victory over Liberty on Wednesday.
On Sunday the Aggies outrebounded the Jaguars 44-21, and Southern was never in the contest in trailing 46-21 at halftime. Derick Beltran led the Jaguars with 19 points.
"We were outmanned most of the night," Banks said. "We had no answer for their bodies on the inside. We were in trouble all night, and they wore us out physically."
A&M outscored the Jaguars 15-0 on second-chance points, and 46-18 in the paint. A&M also outscored Southern 16-8 on fast-break points, and 29-10 off the bench.
"They really run the ball, and that allows them to get out in the open court and make some electrifying plays," Banks said of the Aggies.
A&M, which leads its all-time series with Southern 3-1, shot 56.6 percent (30 of 53) from the floor, compared to 40.7 percent (22 of 54) for Southern. The Jaguars' Quinton Doggett had a game-high nine rebounds, whileTurner and Keith Davis each grabbed eight for A&M.
"I want to play the game the right way, and that's to compete for 40 minutes," Banks said. "I told my guys I thought they did that. Our guys competed down the stretch and didn't give up, and that's what I'm after for the Southern University team."
The Aggies, who led throughout, held a 33-point lead with 4:17 with remaining. A&M, which along with Kansas is picked to win the Big 12, will next play Mississippi State on Thursday in Madison Square Garden in the 17th Annual 2K Sports Classic. Kennedy said he's taking things "day by day" right now and isn't certain if he'll make the trip to New York City.
"I'm just thankful to have the opportunity to coach a good group of young men and have a coaching staff and administration that's supported me this last month," Kennedy said. "It's been a hard time - the most difficult time I've ever been through. I'm not fully recovered yet, but I'm getting there."
The Jaguars play at Rice on Thursday in Houston as part of the South Padre Island Invitational.