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Texas A&M 71, Valparaiso 49

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We looked great from the opening tip, crushing a potentially tricky opponent with little fuss.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was a nice change of pace, wasn’t it.

We didn’t toy around with our opponent, and we didn’t give ourselves a chance to blow things late. We simply crushed them from the opening tip, prompting a lovely evening full of highlights.

Box Score

Let’s break it down.

The Christian Mekowulu Show

The senior big man was dominant last night, grabbing 20 points on 8-9 shooting. And he did his bulk of the damage in our huge early run, repeatedly tormenting the Valpo big men on just about every possession. He even hit his only three for good measure, which is a convenient transition to…

Another Good Shooting Night

We appear to have a couple of legitimate spot-up shooters on our team, y’all. Mitchell and Mahan were a combined 6-12 from beyond the arc, and they are establishing themselves as players that cannot be left open. Which is something we sorely need, evidenced by the damage Mekowulu was able to do with the extra space and the remainder of the team going 3-14 from deep.

Mitchell (8-18; 44%) and Mahan (8-13; 62%) have been killing it from long range over the past three games. It’s a welcome sight, but it’s also something that has to continue if we are to see success in conference play.

Overall Thoughts

The SEC has stabilized a bit after a truly underwhelming opening three weeks, so we aren’t alone in our uptick in non-conference results. We’re seeing improved play across the Southeast, so I still have us pegged as a team that will have to fight to avoid the dreaded “bottom four” opening night of the SEC Tournament.

Having said that, there’s no denying our improvement. When we were 1-4, we were staring down the barrel of a truly horrendous season, and we’ve pulled out of that nose dive with four straight wins. Conference play is still going to be a challenge, but for the first time in a while, you can squint and see a path to success.

Next up is Marshall at home on Saturday.

BTHO Marshall.