While LSU and Texas A&M basketball do not have much in common as far as their styles of play, they do share one similarity. They are both much better at home. LSU won their seventh straight home game while the Ags extended their road losing streak to seven as familiar issues brought them back to the surface in a 68-49 loss.
Like the Vanderbilt game, the first half started fast then came to a screeching halt. Jamal Jones drained an opening minute 3-pointer and five minutes into the game, A&M scored nearly a quarter of their total points. Alex Caruso (7 pts, 5 asts, 5 stls) came out strong driving to the basket and setting up teammates for open shots. LSU hung around and it looked like we were in for a similar high scoring game like the previous matchup at Reed.
Then the Ags missed a shot. Then another shot. Then another... Then another.
And before we knew it, a familiar foe had resurfaced. The horrific, agonizing sight that is the Aggie basketball scoring drought. Ten minutes. Zero points. An eight point Aggie lead turned into 21-0 run by the Tigers. Things looked bleak, but somehow, someway, A&M steadied the ship and went into halftime only down six.
The Aggies struck first, making three of four free throws to cut the deficit to three. That would be the closest they would ever get. The offensive firepower of LSU, coupled with A&M's scoring ineptitude, proved too much to overcome. An 11-2 scoring run pushed LSU's lead to 12 with 13 minutes left in the half, and the game remained out of reach from there on out.
The primary contributors to LSU's dominance were Jarell Martin and Johnny O'Bryant III. The two forwards combined for 35 points and 16 rebounds, and Martin matched A&M's TEAM total of 3-pointers with four.
FINAL: LSU - 68, A&M - 49
Aggie fans are all too familiar with scoring droughts this season so last night's result came as no surprise. Rebounds continue to be a killer especially on the offensive side. Nearly all of A&M's possessions during the drought were one-and-dones, meaning no one was able to grab an offensive rebound. Obviously the Ags are at their best when the shots go down, but an equally important contributor are the big men out-hustling the opponent and earning second-chance points.
As far as postseason hopes, this was not the type of performance you want to display when you're in a 7-way tie for 4th place in the SEC. While it did not destroy the Aggies' shot at playing in the NIT, the next two games against bubble teams Ole Miss and Missouri will be vital for the tournament resume.
A&M returns to the safer confines of Reed Arena this Saturday against the Rebels of Ole Miss.