What else can you say about this team?
They were playing their fourth game in seven days, they were on the road against a well-rested squad that was ranked #10 in nation... and they won by 15.
It certainly looks like we have something special on our hands.
Let’s break it down.
The first half was great
And I don’t mean as an Aggie fan. Just as a basketball fan in general.
We came out firing, as we often do, but for the first time this season we realized that we weren't going to out-talent the opposition. To that end, a flurry of quality possessions by both squads had us at 10-10 before most of the West Coast crowd had found their popcorn.
The middle portion of the first half? That was the Duane Wilson show. The grad transfer was excellent again, running the first unit flawlessly while chipping in a handful of buckets himself and extending the lead to seven. Our second unit didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory when they checked in, but the Trojan reserves offered little in the way of resistance as halftime neared.
The quality shot wayyyyy up when both teams ran their primary units late, and there were stretches where you could be forgiven for thinking you were at a Sweet Sixteen game.
We did benefit from a cold streak from USC, as they had no shortage of open looks in the latter part of the half, but often failed to convert. Wilson went down late in the first half, which was terrifying, but it was officially reported as a leg contusion and nothing more.
Halftime Score: Texas A&M 38, USC 31
The second half was not
At least... not at first. After a slick, clean, college basketball clinic in the first half, both teams decided to turn down the quality. Hey, high-quality basketball is hard work.
USC’s own NBA prospect (Metu) started to hold up really well against Davis down low (and kinda get in his head if I’m being honest), Williams continued to terrorize the paint and wreck havoc on the boards, and both teams started to take, and miss, really early shots on their offensive possessions.
The result was an opening eight minutes where most of the points came from steals, second chances, and free throws.
It was all hanging in the balance at 42-42, until this absolutely hellacious dunk from Duane Wilson
That dunk started a 19-3 run that effectively won the game
The Youth Movement
Let’s run through the key possessions from that 19-3 run, shall we?
- Duane Wilson dunks the soul out of this USC man, who now has to retire on principle
- Caldwell finds Trocha for two mid-range jumpers. Less exciting, but still important.
- Caldwell grabs an offensive board on a scrappy play and lays it in
- TJ Starks hits from just inside the three point line
- TJ Starks hits again
- TJ Starks hits a third time
- TJ Starks, who at this point is now floating four inches off the court on a separate plane of existence, stutter steps and hits a fadeaway while falling into the Texas A&M bench
- Gilder finds Hogg open on the baseline for three, and he murder-bombs the Trojans out of the game for good
As you can see, our young guys were huge during the passage of play that changed the game. We got depth on depth on depth, y’all.
The latter part of the game played out without a fuss, honestly. USC did finally start to hit some threes, but the lead never really felt threatened. There was no late fight, and no late drama. We coldly dispatched of the #10 team in the country in their building.
Final Score: #16 Texas A&M 75, #10 USC 59
A few final thoughts
- The balance on offense was incredible. The majority of our 75 points were spread across six players, each scoring between 9 and 15. How do you stop that?
- Williams only had 4 points, but he was a terror on the glass and blocked four shots. This squad can win big even when our NBA lottery prospect doesn’t score
- Gilder (10 rebounds) and Hogg (8 rebounds) were very good on the glass tonight, and they played great defense to boot
This team can score from anywhere, they can run for days, and they’ve currently got more quality wins than anyone else in the country. I’m not sure what the polls will say tomorrow, but for my money we’ve earned a spot in the Top 10.
We’ve got a few well-deserved days off until UT Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, followed by another road test at flailing Arizona.