COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- No. 18 Texas A&M is learning what life is like in the Top 25.
"Being a ranked team, the expectations are higher for you," senior guard Jalen Jones said after the Aggies' 75-65 victory over Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday night. "Everybody expects you to blow out unranked teams, and dominate them. But sometimes you have to pull out tough victories."
The latest victory didn't quite qualify as "tough," but it was tough enough.
"I'm happy we won," said fifth-year coach Billy Kennedy, who's trying to lead the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his A&M tenure. "I knew it was going to be a struggle. I thought we did some good things, but we couldn't sustain them."
Jones scored 22 points, and Danuel House added 15 points for the Aggies (7-1).
"We're not where we need to be," Kennedy said. "We can get a lot better, and that's the good thing about it."
Texas A&M had only 10 turnovers to 21 for Florida Gulf Coast, and outscored the Eagles 21-5 on points off turnovers.
"You can't turn it over, and have those turn into points," Eagles coach Joe Dooley said.
Christian Terrell led Florida Gulf Coast (4-4) with 14 points.
Jones played for the first time in Reed Arena this season, after missing the first four games because of an NCAA suspension stemming from his time playing for SMU.
"My teammates found me in the right spots," Jones said, "and I was able to knock down a couple of shots. I got into a little flow, and kept going with it."
Aggies guard Alex Caruso scored all seven of his points in a 50-second-span in the second half. He grabbed an offensive rebound following D.J. Hogg's missed 3-point attempt and quickly put the ball in over several players. Caruso stole Reggie Reid's pass near midcourt and dunked for the loudest roar of the night, then grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back for a score and a three-point play.
Florida Gulf Coast: This marked the first meeting between the Aggies and Eagles. ... The 21 turnovers tied for the most in Dooley's three-season tenure.
Texas A&M: Although he didn't start for the first time, House still played 25 minutes. Tyler Davis logged 16 minutes after coming off the bench for the first time. ... Point guard Anthony Collins had nine assists, six more than anyone else in the game.
"You have to pick your poison against Texas A&M. They have bigs who can shoot from the outside, and bigs who can score inside." -- Dooley
Florida Gulf Coast plays at Florida International on Sunday.
Texas A&M plays at Arizona State on Saturday.