Have you ever seen a team this dependent on the game's location? Once again, our Aggies came off a listless road defeat to beat a postseason hopeful at home. Let's take a look.
Jordan Green joined the starting lineup due to two game-day announcements regarding Shawn Smith and Fabyon Harris.
Smith missed the game for what team spokesman Adam Quisenberry dubbed "personal issues," while Harris fainted during the Aggies' earlier shootaround.
Both teams came out shooting white hot, compiling almost fifty points between them during the opening ten minutes. But eventually the law of averages and the crushing inevitability of #SECBasketballFever caught up everyone, as fewer than twenty points were scored coming down the stretch.
|Texas A&M||Ole Miss|
|Opening 10 minutes||10-15 (60%)||8-15 (54%)|
|Closing 10 minutes||4-16 (25%)||5-14 (36%)
Jamal Jones (35 minutes; 21 points / 7-18 FG / 5 rebounds) led the Aggies with 12 points in the first half, and Alex Caruso (33 minutes; 7 points / 9 assists / 7 rebounds) chipped in with five first half assists. Ole Miss sharp shooter and aspiring wrestling heel Marshall Henderson (30 minutes; 16 points / 5-16 3PT / 2 TO) hit his first three shots from beyond the arc, but was held scoreless for the remainder of the half.
Halftime Score: Texas A&M 33, Ole Miss 33
Texas A&M came out strong again, using two early Kourtney Roberson (33 minutes; 13 points / 5 rebounds / 6-6 FG) buckets to build a four point lead. After an empty possession by both sides, an Ole Miss turnover leads to Alex Caruso streaking down the court against two Rebels....
Caruso goes behind the back on flat-footed Rebel #1 before absolutely posterizing Mr. Henderson himself right in front of the Aggie bench. Please go watch the video, as my text description doesn't do it justice.
A Jordan Green (36 minutes; 16 points / 6-12 FG / 4 rebounds) layup from a sweet Caruso pass follows soon thereafter, and our Aggies had an eight-point advantage heading into the first media break.
The next 4-5 minutes were rife with turnovers and missed shots by both sides, but a quick Aggie burst by Green, Jones and Blake McDonald (13 minutes / 6 points / 2 assists / 2-2 3PT) pushed the A&M lead to twelve with nine minutes remaining. The Rebels got an immediate answer from Henderson and LaDarius White (17 minutes; 9 points / 3-8 FG), but an A&M response from Green and Antwan Space (35 minutes; 8 points / 4-5 FG / 5 rebounds) pushed the lead back to twelve with six minutes remaining.
The Rebels never got the lead under eight from that point on. The Aggie defense did a good job preventing Ole Miss from stacking good offensive possessions, and they took care of business when Ole Miss was forced to foul at the end of the game (going 6-6 from the line). Another relatively comfortable home victory was in the bag.
Final Score: Texas A&M 71, Ole Miss 60
Highlights (courtesy of Aggie Athletics)
Everybody came to play. Jamal Jones (who previously played for Ole Miss) was clearly locked in, and Roberson and Space were very effective down low. Jordan Green submitted his best offensive game of conference play, Caruso dropped nine dimes with his Henderson poster, and Blake McDonald hit two timely threes to keep things moving. It was a great response from everyone, especially given the last-minute shakeup to the rotation.
Can we finally put it together on the road? A mid-week road trip to Mizzou looms large, and a win away from the friendly confines would do wonders for our NIT resume. We've seen our guys look good time and time again at home, so hopefully it can finally translate to our travels.
Any thoughts on the game? Will we finally show up on the road? Hit the comments below.