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Texas 60, Texas A&M 50

An improved defensive/rebounding effort was undermined by 21 turnovers and an ugly 22-5 fast break margin

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

I started the day harping on shooting and rebounding. Those were our two biggest weaknesses last weekend, and we weren’t going to make noise without sorting those issues. The team answered in both areas today. We shot 48% from the field and outrebounded our opponent (handily) for the first time all season, and we threw in a much better defensive effort, to boot.

But we committed 21 turnovers, which Texas used to cruise to a 22-5 “points off turnovers” advantage that we just couldn’t shake. Today was better, and we definitely wouldn’t have gone 0-3 in Orlando if this team made the trip... but it’s also a potentially nasty predictor of the months to come.

The way this roster is built, we can’t have a “night off” in any single facet of the game during conference play. Shooting. Defense. Rebounding. Ball Security.

We have to have it all.

First Half

It was another brutal first half from the good guys, as we didn’t clear 20 points in the first half for the fourth time this season. Our shooting wasn’t really that bad... we just couldn’t get a shot without turning the ball over. Eleven first half turnovers sunk our chances to make noise early, and it was only some poor shooting by the Longhorns that kept us in this sucker.

Halftime Score: Texas 27, Texas A&M 17

Second Half

We kept the clamps on Texas, particularly during a four minute stretch early in the second half that was just begging us to make a run, but that’s not how things work for Texas A&M Basketball this year. We scored three total points during that four-minute stretch, which only served to knock the deficit to eight.

We would (with the exception of garbage time) never see it that close again. We continued to shoot well, even breaking the 50% barrier in the second half, but the turnovers (and resulting easy baskets) were our undoing.

Final Score: Texas 60, Texas A&M 50

Additional Thoughts

  • Emanuel Miller was a beast down low. He had 8 points and 14 rebounds on the afternoon, and he was a huge reason why we won the battle down low for the first time all season. If he can emerge as the second contributor down low, things could start to stabilize on the glass.
  • Speaking of impressive displays down low, Josh Nebo (16 points, 7-10 FG; 5 rebounds, 3 blocks) was our best option on offense today. We need 30+ minutes of this to even have a chance on a given night, and Nebo brought it today.
  • Chuck Mitchell was more composed on offense, dropping four assists (and committing only one turnover), but he only took four shots. I know he’s been a little too trigger-happy in the past two weeks, and it’s been detrimental, but this... this ain’t it, either. There’s a happy medium, here, and I think he’ll find it.
  • As for Flagg... I’m not as sure he’ll find it. This was another dud of a performance in a game that we very well could have won with a better effort from the preseason All-SEC Second teamer. His dip in year three has been truly bewildering.
  • Kudos to Mark French, who nabbed five assists in only 13 minutes of action. He was one of two players who appeared interested in taking care of the ball, which surely earned him a continued spot in this rotation.
  • We played our best offensive ball of the afternoon when we were chasing the game late, and I think we gotta chase that feeling. Not the “down by double digits” feeling, but the simplified “we need to get a good/quick shot” feeling. Our offense is plodding and slow by design, as I feel Buzz is trying to minimize the number of possessions to keep us around, but asking this team to make 10+ passes in a 25 second set is begging for disaster. At times, I found myself relieved when we would simply get a shot up, even if it didn’t go in. If our offensive sets are being ruled with an iron fist, let’s relax the grip a little.


Buzz on the excellent production down low

I thought today obviously his (Josh Nebo’s) production was the best he’s been. I thought from that position, it was the most production that we have had. He and (Jonathan) Aku were 9-of-12 from the field. That really helps our team. I thought their ball screen coverage, with as many ball screens as they set, was better than it has been all year long. We just need to count on them to do that and then continue to find more. Eman (Emanuel Miller) had 14 rebounds in 30 minutes. He had 14 of our 30, he had 14 and they had 24 total.

Nebo on the rivalry

I think it definitely felt physical, like a hard hitting game, no love loss or friends out there, just a tough physical game. As players you want to play against Texas. The fans want to see that. I feel that it is good for both schools, good for the state and, as you noticed, a good college basketball game.

Buzz on the turnovers

[...] in essence 50% of their points came off our turnovers or their second shots. We did a lot better job on second shots. Did a much worse job on turnovers [...] and of our 21 turnovers, 15 were live. So the clock is turning and we give them the ball one way or another. And there goes the ball behind us.

Overall Thoughts

Unlike our games in Orlando, we did see some positives today. Miller may have established himself as another rebounder/defender down low. Gordon looked healthier. French settled into a smaller role that’s more sustainable. Nebo was great on both ends. In short, we improved.

That’s the theme of the season, friends. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi comes to town next Sunday.