In the last three games, Texas A&M experienced three types of losses.
- A heartbreaker where the result would have been different if one or two bounces went the other way. - Mississippi State
- A blowout to a superior opponent. - Kentucky
- Laying a complete egg in a must-win situation against an inferior opponent with a depleted roster. - Vanderbilt
Now just as quickly as their fast start to SEC play, the Ags have dropped three in a row. And just as the fan base was starting to get excited for a sport not related to football, the interest level has receded back to "meh." Saturday's loss did not amount to being outplayed or overmatched; it just amounted to playing worse. Complacency on offense and the inability to gain any momentum lead the attack of A&M's demise. Now at 3-3 in SEC play, the Aggies are back to having more questions than answers.
Coach Kennedy decided to stick with the same lineup from the Kentucky game and keep Fabyon Harris on the bench. The thought remained for the first portion of the game whether he would see a second straight DNP, but the senior point guard sat only a few minutes before entering the game.
SEC Basketball Fever has seen better days. We had multiple displays of futility from both teams during the first half. Air balls and bad possessions consumed both squads, producing a not-very-watchable product on the court. Probably the best highlight came when a Vanderbilt player somehow forgot his jersey under his shooting shirt and delayed the opening tip-off to retrieve.
There were a couple of bright spots. For Vandy, Luke Kornet, coming into the game making 1 of his last 20 3-point attempts, drained 3 shots from long distance, the last going right before the first-half buzzer, giving the Commodores a 27-25 halftime lead.
For the Ags, Fabyon did not let the benching dampen his spirits and tied the team-high of 6 points in the first 20 minutes.
The back and forth affair continued several minutes into the second half until Vandy rattled off 13 straight points and lead by 12 with roughly 9 minutes left in the game. Though the Ags brought it within 4 points a couple of times, it never felt like Vanderbilt's lead was in jeopardy.
Each time the Ags made a play that got the Reed Arena crowd (with a surprisingly good turnout) back into the game, the Commodores either answered right back, or A&M's offensive woes failed to gain them any sort of momentum.
During A&M's 3-game skid, they have now allowed 40, 34 and 39 points in the second half. Saturday, the cause came from over-committing on help defense and leaving other Vandy players for wide-open jump shots.
FINAL: Vanderbilt - 66, Texas A&M - 55
It is quite the dichotomy to see #AGSWAG overflow with #YESSIR's and Drake-Wearing-Johnny-Football jerseys during the football program's Junior Day alongside the anguish of Aggie basketball. Saturday, the team looked like they were trying not to make any mistakes or take any chances on the offensive ends. There was a lot of passing around the 3-point arc, complacent screens and slow cuts to the basket. It was as if A&M hoped Vanderbilt would be bored to death and fall asleep on defense to create an opening.
All in all, an extremely poor showing in a must-win situation against a team that's inexcusable to lose to.
The Aggies travel to South Carolina January 29th at 7:00pm, and then start the month of February against #6 Florida.
Twelve games remain this season. Is it me or does this season feel really long?