This might be the ugliest Texas A&M Basketball win I’ve ever seen.
We were flat-out awful in the first half, but our shorthanded squad turned things around behind the efforts of Mark French, and it was really fun to watch.
It was ugly, and it was a harbinger of difficult times to come… but I loved it.
Let’s break it down.
Tell me, what was your favorite part of the first half? Was it the 3-2 score after four minutes? Our 2-15 start from the field? The multiple two-minute stretches with no scoring by either team? I know it’s tough, but try to pick one.
Anyone who devoted their full attention to this nonsense is immediately eligible for canonization.
Halftime Score: Troy 25, Texas A&M 17
This is a rare deviation from my recap formula, as I don’t mention halftime unless Frisbee Dogs or Red Panda are involved. But something really interesting happened… Buzz didn’t take the team back to the locker room at halftime.
Texas A&M head coach Buzz Williams didn't take his team to the locker room during halftime. Team met in a huddle on the floor for the first few minutes and went straight to shooting. Finished first half shooting 19.2 percent from field with 8 turnovers.— . (@Travis_L_Brown) November 21, 2019
This was a fascinating glimpse into how this program operates under new management, and Buzz had more to say on the topic after the game.
“I didn’t do it to embarrass them. That was the first thing that I told them. It’s a long walk down from the court to the locker room. And so I always feel like, thus far, that I have so much to say that sometimes the content is overwhelming to them. I always feel rushed because of the clock. I felt rushed because of the clock in practice. I feel rushed because of the time we’re allowed to be in the film room. I feel rushed. We got to hurry up and get back out there for the game. The message was try really, really hard. The message was we need to get a shot attempt per possession. The message was try to get a shot attempt after rotation has been forced, so that down the stretch of the game we can score a bunch of points at the free-throw line. The message was when they shoot, act like the ceiling of Reed Arena is collapsing, and the only way that we can get out before the collapse happens is if we get the ball. I was taking a lot of breaths in between. I was really tired, and I just said if you could just try really hard.”
Coming out of that break, we were faced with a grim reality: This was our last home buy-in game before the serious part of our non-conference schedule kicked in, and we hadn’t looked good in at least 1.5 games. Thankfully, that came to an end.
Texas A&M Basketball (finally) came to life, starting the second half with a 13-3 stretch and finishing the game with a 12-0 run to put the game out of reach. We won’t speak about the middle portion of the second half, as the two teams combined for 2-24 shooting in a stretch that may have set the sport back ten years. But hey! Victory.
Troy hit a couple of threes late to keep things slightly interesting, but in truth we had this one buttoned up with a couple minutes to spare.
Final Score: Texas A&M 56, Troy 52
- Without Mark French, we lose this basketball game. French, starting for the injured Andre Gordon, had 12 points (all in the second half) and 5 rebounds and was the driving force behind the runs that swung the game.
- For the first time all year we made a concerted effort to get the ball inside, and Josh Nebo rewarded that faith with 14 points on 5-8 shooting. Nebo added 12 rebounds and 5 blocks on the evening, and he appears to be fully healthy and ready to carry the load down low. Fun fact: He is now the active blocked shots leader in the NCAA.
- Free Throws! We were 17-23 on the evening, and Troy was 3-9. We won this game because we shot free throws, and that is not a sentence I have typed often.
- We bombed away with 28 threes, and only 5 of those suckers went in. Mitchell, Chandler, and Flagg combined to shoot 2-17 from beyond the arc, which makes this win all the more miraculous.
- Speaking of Flagg... we’re now working on a three game streak where he really hasn’t played very well. He looked great in our only comfortable victory, and it’s really been tough sledding since then. That’s no accident.
- Our defensive rebounding is abysmal. We’re currently 326th out of 353 D1 basketball teams, which is good for last place in the SEC by a laaaaarge margin. Find a body and box out, friends.
I’ll give this team credit for pulling outta that tailspin, because this really looked like an evening that was going to end poorly. Our inability to shoot or rebound is pretty damning for the business end of the schedule, but we’re playing hard and we’re clearly building towards a better tomorrow.
Next up is the Orlando Invitational, which opens with a game against Harvard on Thanksgiving Day.