Let’s start with a positive. The Aggies did not play particularly well in this game, and were facing a desperate opponent (after going winless in the Bahamas and given how bad the Pac 12 looks this season, Arizona really needed this game) and still could have easily won this game at the end.
What was good?
Tyler Davis - This was Davis’ best game as an Aggie considering the quality of the opponent. Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton will likely be one of the first players taken in next year’s draft, and Davis was every bit his equal tonight. The big man had 21 points on just 12 shots. Davis had a +/- (if you’re not familiar, +/- is the score differential when a given player is in the game) of +8, which is impressive in a game that A&M lost.
Duane Wilson - On a night where basically every other backcourt player for A&M struggled offensively, Wilson again showed why even on a team with so many important first-year players, the Marquette transfer might be A&M’s most important offseason addition. Wilson had 14 points and five assists against just two turnovers.
Gilder’s defense - This game probably won’t go on Admon Gilder’s highlight tape, but he was a big part of the reason why Alonzo Trier, Arizona’s other star player who came into the game averaging 24 points her game, was held to just seven points.
Inbounds plays - This isn’t an area where A&M is usually particularly good, but whether Kennedy and his staff saw something on the tape or Arizona just had some mental lapses, A&M was able to get a few easy baskets tonight on baseline inbounds plays.
Everyone else’s offense, except maybe Hogg: Hogg was dealing with some foul trouble, so he had an okay game considering, but if you take out Davis, Wilson and Hogg, the rest of the team had just 20 points and shot 9-for-30.
Three point shooting: One thing that’s been a question is what the Aggies would do on a night where the three pointer wasn’t falling, and the answer tonight was abandon it altogether. Not counting Williams’ desperation heave at the buzzer, the Aggies only shot four three pointers in the entire second half, and they came from Davis and Trocha who shot two each.
This is worth repeating, not a single A&M guard attempted a three pointer in the second half.
The foul situation: I’m not going to bother with talking about the officiating, but there’s no doubt the fact that Arizona shot 24 free throws to A&M’s 10 played a huge factor on a night that neither team was shooting the ball particularly well.
Bench scoring: The bench only scored nine points tonight, and the only person on the bench who hit multiple shots was Savion Flagg (who actually had a decent overall game in just 13 minutes.)
Should we panic?
No, this was just one game against a desperate opponent, and really it was a good game down the stretch. A couple of bounces or calls go the other way and A&M could have won this game. Plus, losses happen, it’s basketball.
But, that said, it may be perhaps time to start wondering what’s going on with Robert Williams. We haven’t seen the offensive game that he supposedly worked to improve in the offseason. You could write this off as a bad game for a few players, but Williams has had a few subpar performances lately.
Now the team goes into improvement season. Over the next several weeks, the team won’t have to worry about going to class, and can eat and sleep basketball. This is a time of the year where teams usually improve quite a bit, and that’s going to be important for a team featuring as many young players as the Aggies.
Nothing says holiday season quite like smashing some cupcakes.