We had patience, we had great ball movement, and we had purpose to our offensive possessions. Jalen Jones has proven himself to be the answer at the high post, and his range from 18 meant we were always one pass away from completely killing the 2-3. And kill it we did. From downtown, from the high post, and through a series of back-breaking passes, we repeatedly got great looks for darn near the entire 40 minutes.
Special shout-out to the guys out top - they were very deliberate breaking the press, and did not commit any cheap turnovers in their own half.
- 25 baskets on 17 assists. Beautiful offensive basketball really is fun to watch.
There was a really ugly passage of play to close the first half, where A&M shot 1-7 and the Vols shot 1-10. But, as usual, the devil is in the details. The Ags were missing wide open looks, and the Vols were struggling to get an uncontested shot within 25 feet. That generally continued for the entire game, as Tennessee went bombs away.
- 52 total shots were taken by Tennessee, and 29 of them were three point attempts. That's phenomenal defensive basketball.
We killed it on the glass today. 34-27 overall advantage, and a 12-11 advantage on the offensive glass. The statistics don't tell the whole story here, though... the timing was immense. Every time we needed a stop, we got a huge board; and every time the Vols would threaten, we seemed to get 2-3 chances on our next possession. This allowed us to keep UT at arm's reach for the entire second half. And although things got pretty dicey at the end, the Vols were never within one possession.
A few additional notes:
House finds other ways to help
He was 1-7 from downtown, but he added 6 assists and was 6-6 from the line coming down the stretch. In addition, he had a handful of hustle plays to contribute to the cause. That's what you want from your best players - when option A isn't working, they contribute in any way they can.
Caruso has range
Alex was 3-3 from beyond the arc, which was a huge part of our zone effectiveness today. Of course, he also had his usual contribution (6 rebounds, 3 assists, countless minutes on the ball under late pressure), but it was his outside shooting that set him apart today.
A&M shot 80% (12-15) from the stripe today, including 5-6 down the stretch. That's how you close a basketball game.
Jalen Jones is on another level
18 points, 9 rebounds, and 8-13 from the field. He's playing phenomenal basketball right now, and if he keeps this up he's going to be a first team All-SEC forward.
So, that's that. A road trip to Auburn this Tuesday beckons, before a friendly home game against an underwhelming Vanderbilt squad. Can we continue the momentum? I think we can.
But above all else, Aggie Basketball has become fun again. And that's not a bad place to start.