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Aggie Hoops opens the season with a 98-83 victory over Savannah State

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You won’t find this game in a museum, but it was good enough.

C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports

This was no ordinary opponent.

Savannah State leads the country in pace of play, shots attempted, and threes attempted, and can lay claim to just about any other crazy offensive statistic you’d like.

The run, they shoot immediately, and they don’t play defense. In short, the perfect first opponent for our new-look Aggie Hoops squad.

How did we fare? It went.... ok.

Playing Shorthanded

Minutes before the game, we learned that Admon Gilder and Wendell Mitchell were going to be withheld due to injury concerns. Chris Collins and Jay Jay Chandler stepped in, TJ Starks slid to the point, and Savion Flagg and Christian Mekowulu comprised the rest of the starting five.

Brandon Mahan, Josh Nebo, and Isiah Jasey saw rotation minutes, as expected... and the remainder of the rotation minutes went to John Walker.

If these names don’t sound familiar to you, we recommend checking out our season preview.

There’s really no game flow to discuss. We jumped out to a seven point lead, the lead fluctuated between seven and twenty for the duration of the game, and then everyone went home. In lieu of discussing the ebb and flow of the proceedings, let’s talked about what we learned.

The Good

Savion Flagg thrived in the new system. The sophomore wingman played extended time as the second big man, but also slotted comfortably back into his old spot on the wing when we ran our two big guys together. The result was a really solid outing from a guy that’s hoping to fill a larger role this season.

  • 26 minutes; 24 points, 16 rebounds; 10-14 FG, 3-6 3PT

Mekowulu (14 rebounds) and Nebo (10 points on 5-5 shooting) filled the big man role admirably, and John Walker (who didn’t even make it into our preview - gulp) gave us 14 solid minutes in the absence of Mitchell and Gilder.

As a whole, I wish we were a little more unselfish. But I imagine that will fix itself as the injured players return and the offense looks less choppy.

The Bad

We have to start this section with Starks. Have to. Sure, his stats looked somewhat decent by the end of the evening, but garbage time success masked a truly dreadful performance.

  • 32 minutes; 16 points (6-19 FG; 1-10 3PT), 5 rebounds, 5 assists... and nine turnovers

It’s not just the numbers, though... he played like he had no home in the new system. He stood idly at the top of the key, swung half-hearted passes around the horn, and took a few threes from 30+ feet out of boredom. Hopefully, we’ll have Mitchell and Gilder around to lighten the load moving forward. But man, what a dud of an opener from the All-SEC 2nd team selection.

The only other underwhelming individual performance of note belonged to Brandon Mahan, who has beautiful form... but only made 2 of 10 beyond the arc.

Other problems worth mentioning

  • Our three point shooting (8-38, including 2-19 in the second half) was pitiful. A huge percentage of these looks were uncontested, and we just couldn’t buy one.
  • We looked like we hadn’t practiced a press break in six months.
  • Our offense looked “cleaner” with two bigs in the game, but we don’t really have the personnel to run two bigs for 40 minutes. We have to learn to get comfortable with only one big guy on the floor.

Overall

I can’t really complain too much. We got to see the new guys in action, and the outcome was never really in doubt. I’m guessing we’ll clean it up against UC Irvine tomorrow night, as they’re going to be a slightly more difficult opponent.

BTHO UC Irvine