Aggie Basketball Update: There's No Place Like Home

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Aggies improve to 5-1 at home in SEC play (6-7 overall) with a 15 point victory over Alabama

Let's start with a simple fact: We beat Alabama at home.

Was it in the sport we wanted? No.

Did it come five months and one week too late? Yes.

Did our basketball team hold Alabama to less points than the football team? There's no way that can be true Yes.

Let's take a look.

First Half

The score was 4-4 at the first media break. Good times. It was 10-8 Bama at the second media break, and 15-15 at the third. Bama jumped ahead 21-19 at the final media break, and it was 24-23 Texas A&M at halftime.

That's literally the best I can do to make the opening half sound exciting. It was #SECBasketballFever at its worst best, displayed oh so proudly for the world to see on ESPN2.

Jamal Jones (31 minutes; 19 points / 8-15 FG / 3-7 3PT) led the Aggies with eight points in the opening frame, and the good guys held Alabama top scorer Trevor Releford to two field goals. Halftime Score: Texas A&M 24, Alabama 23

Second Half

Good news for those in attendance - the second half contained some decent offensive basketball. Early contributions from Jones, Shawn Smith (28 minutes; 8 points / 6 rebounds / 2 assists), and Alex Caruso (14 points / 3 assists / 5-7 FG) got the Aggies moving early, and the Tide countered with strong early play by Shannon Hale (31 minutes; 12 points / 9 rebounds / 4-10 FG) and a finally-awake Trevor Releford (39 minutes; 20 points / 7-14 FG / 3-7 3PT).

A Caruso three and two more buckets by Jones had the Aggies positioned to pull away, but another three by Releford (cue the NBA JAM "he's heating up" voice) knocked the lead down to four heading into the under-twelve media break.

At this point, Alabama reverted back to their true road form... but our Ags kept hitting. A three-pointer by Jordan Green (15 minutes; 6 points / 2-3 FG / 1-1 3PT), an "and one" by Caruso, and another three by Fabyon Harris (22 minutes; 5 points / 3 assists / 2 rebounds) pushed the lead into double digits. Three good looks on three consecutive possessions... my feeble SEC basketball brain simply could not compute.

The remainder of the game was an exercise in role reversal, as we got to experience the joy of playing against an A&M-esque road scoring drought. The Crimson Tide only managed eight points in the last ten minutes of basketball, three of which came on a Releford bomb with :02 remaining. Come to find out, this whole "close out a basketball game you should win" concept becomes easier when your opponent doesn't score. Who knew.

One final note: Antwan Space (31 minutes; 12 rebounds / 3 blocks / 4 assists / 3 points) played exceptionally well. He didn't light up the score column, but he had a big impact in just about every other way imaginable.

Final Score: Texas A&M 63, Alabama 48

Overall Impression / Looking Forward

2014 SEC Conference Standings
Team SEC W-L Home Away
Florida 13-0 7-0 6-0
Kentucky 10-3 5-1 5-2
Georgia 8-5 6-1 2-4
Missouri 7-6 5-2 2-4
LSU 7-6 6-1 1-5
Ole Miss 7-6 5-1 2-5
Tennessee 7-6 5-2 2-4
Arkansas 6-7 5-2 1-5
Texas A&M 6-7 5-1 1-6
Vanderbilt 6-7 4-3 2-4
Auburn 4-9 3-3 1-6
Alabama 4-9 4-2 0-7
Mississippi St 3-10 3-3 0-7
South Carolina 3-10 3-3 0-7

A&M has five games remaining - one against each of the 7-6 teams above them and a home date with 4-9 Auburn. An NCAA at large bid is completely out of the question, but an NIT bid is still doable with a strong closing stretch and a decent showing at the SEC tournament.

Granted, this would require a good road performance (which has been very hard to come by), but if the Ags take care of business at home it's still a possibility.

And on that note... we're only two days away.

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