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Texas A&M survives a scare from Ole Miss 71-69

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Davis (20 points; 12 rebounds) and Williams (18 points; 9 rebounds; 3 blocks) led the way

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Texas A&M C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports

We caught a break.

It was a back and forth affair for much of the second half, and we had finally pulled away late. But Ole Miss hung around, and they found themselves with the ball on the last possession of the evening.

They put up a three, eerily close to the launch point for the LSU dagger that sunk us... and this happened

Let’s break it down

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A Quick Start

It wasn’t exactly the tone for the entire evening, but both A&M (8-15) and Ole Miss (9-15) did come out firing early en route to a 23-23 opening ten minutes. We pulled ahead on the back of our defense, which was good for a few breakaway buckets tonight, but Ole Miss made it clear that this game wasn’t going to be a rout.

A&M did get a little separation to close the half, but notice had been served. This was an Ole Miss team fresh off a home victory over Florida, and they saw this as another game they could win.

Halftime Score: Texas A&M 45, Ole Miss 37

Regression

If you haven’t watched the game yet, do yourself a favor and skip the first ten minutes of the second half. Trust me on this one.

If you refuse to trust me, then you’re going to watch the Aggies grind through one of their worst offensive stretches of the season. You’re going to watch them commit dumb turnovers, take terrible shots, miss free throws, and ultimately score only five points over a 10:15 stretch.

Thankfully, you’re also going to watch Ole Miss completely fail to take advantage of the situation through their own unique flavor of errors. They were up four after that ten minute stretch, but it should have been so much worse.

Business Time

The guard play and outside shooting never really materialized tonight, so at this point Williams and Davis decided to carry us home. Davis looked comfortable on the low block, and Williams made a living lurking behind the Ole Miss zone and capitalizing around the rim.

Ole Miss hung around and kept the game in striking distance (64-60) approaching the final media timeout, but we responded with a dunk/block/three combo that breathed legitimate life into Reed Arena and had us feeling like our old selves again. Did that kill the game off? Of course not. We missed on our next two possessions and allowed Ole Miss to tie the game, but Davis muscled up one last time to put us ahead with :22 remaining. From there, the basketball gods had our back.

Final Score: Texas A&M 71, Ole Miss 69

Box Score

Individual Notes

  • We continued to rely on the ‘high-low’ action that has been frustrating many of us this year. Unsurprisingly, it continued to fail. We keep putting our bigs in positions where they have to make the critical entry pass, and it’s just not happening for us. We did finally go away from this later in the game, including a series of successful possessions where we just dropped Tyler on the block and let him go to work. I’m hoping we take heed of that success moving forward.
  • Williams was great, but it was a greatness borne of pure athleticism. I still see holes in his offensive awareness, and I’m starting to wonder if that’s ever going to come.
  • Our rebounding wasn’t there, yet again. It sounds simple... but we just aren’t boxing out. It’s almost like we’re more concerned with having guys spread out around the rim than we are actually finding a body with the opposing uniform.
  • This was only our fifth ‘full strength’ game of the season... out of eighteen
  • Free throws, free throws, free throws.... 8-16 (50%) isn’t going to cut it on most nights.

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It’s always more fun to pick nits after a win, right?

Next up is Mizzou this Saturday at 3pm at Reed Arena. Let’s keep the positive momentum going and grind our way to 2-5.

BTHO Mizzou