Remember when this was the premier matchup in the Big XII/SEC Challenge? If you look at the calendar it wasn’t that long ago... but for those close to Texas A&M Basketball, it feels like a different lifetime altogether.
Kansas was clearly better, and that was obvious from the outset. I do have to give us credit for clawing back and making the scoreline respectable, but that’s not what this season was supposed to be about.
We have enough talent to challenge, and defeat, anyone in the country. Playing out extended garbage time (for the second game running, I might add) is just ludicrous.
Let’s break it down.
Everything is open
You could basically set the Jayhawks’ first half highlights to “everything is awesome,” and you wouldn’t be too far off. Kansas routinely ripped us apart with beautiful team basketball, culminating in a series of wide open threes that they dispatched with ruthless efficiency. To be fair, we did our part with some truly shocking defensive discipline, leading to this doozy that managed to (accurately) rip us apart from around ten different angles.
The idea that Texas A&M is this bad with the amount of talent that they have on the floor is baffling. They have no clue how to deal with Kansas spacing them out. The Jayhawks have gotten more wide-open looks today than they have in all of Big 12 play combined.— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) January 27, 2018
TJ Starks and Tyler Davis did their damdest to keep us in the game early, but when the opponent starts the game shooting 9-13 from beyond the arc... you’re gonna have a bad time.
Halftime Score: Kansas 45, Texas A&M 27
Keeping it respectable
Again, I do have to note that we played better in the second half. I’ve seen Kansas turn games like this into 40-point laughers, so there is something to be said for our response. But even with our improved play, and with Kansas cooling down, we never dropped the deficit to single digits. We did a good job responding every time they pushed it to 15+, but we had around four or five possessions that could have turned this into a real basketball game, and they all came up empty.
In the end, Kansas had their first stress free victory in weeks.
Final Score: Kansas 79, Texas A&M 68
Much like the game at LSU, this was a bad team performance with good individual efforts sprinkled in. We’ll start with the good... and then it’ll get a little dark
- Davis (18 rebounds, 9 rebounds) was his usual self, grinding his way to another solid evening. It wasn’t quite the efficiency we were used to, as he had to take 17 shots to get there, but it’s never a bad idea to put the ball in this guy’s hands. Unless of course, he’s at the three point line. Tyler missed two more from deep yesterday, bringing his total to 2-12 over the last six games. (Please stop)
- Williams (11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks) was good yet again, bringing us to four consecutive “good Robert Williams games.” Over the last two weeks, he’s averaging 15.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks on 70% shooting. Whatever’s going wrong, it ain’t on him.
- Starks (11 points, 4-9 FG) has been solid lately, and he was rewarded with a starting role tonight. He delivered, and his efforts kept us in the game early.
- Trocha (9 points, 7 rebounds) was serviceable for the third game running, knocking down two threes during one of our ill-fated pushes to knock the deficit to single digits. He’s shooting 50% from deep over the last three weeks, so I’m pretty comfortable with him firing away.
- Hogg (9 points, 6 rebounds, 1-5 3PT) is a completely different story. DJ started the year on fire, but has completely fallen apart since his three game suspension, shooting 22% (8-37) from deep in those seven games. Y’all, this is our “stretch the floor” guy, and it’s just not there right now.
- Gilder (7 points) was anonymous for the third game running. I have no idea how or why this is happening, but it’s jarring to get a series of poor results from him.
- The reserves were just flat out bad. Flagg, Wilson, Chandler, and Caldwell combined for 32 minutes, 4 fouls, 4 turnovers, and 3 points.
We’ve got two home games coming up, and we have to have both if we want to keep this sham of a season alive. At some point, we’re going to need a result on the road... but that’s a problem for next-week A&M.