This effort was the culmination of six weeks of continued, game-over-game improvement. We took care of the basketball, we forced turnovers, we got good shots, and we made them.
We made them.
That’s right. Texas A&M Basketball, the literal worst long range shooting team in the country, drilled 14 threes on the evening and kept pace in a breathtaking fast-pace shootout. We absorbed LSU’s best shot early, we fought back to tie the game in the second half, and we even opened a six point lead with two minutes remaining... but the Tigers made enough plays down the stretch to pull it out.
We had chances to win, but closing games against good opposition ain’t easy. It’ll come in time. The good news is that we’re competing with quality opposition, and we’re doing it ahead of schedule.
Early on, I thought our goose was cooked. LSU came storming out of the gates to an 8-0 lead, and soon supplemented that with a 15-2 run that pushed their lead to 23-7. With the Tigers threatening to run away with this game, we decided to try something new.
We made some threes.
Mitchell, Flagg, and Gordon each grabbed two bombs in the first half, cutting the lead to eight in the immediate aftermath of that run. We hadn’t erased the deficit, but we’d stayed in range.
Halftime Score: LSU 42, Texas A&M 32
We were excellent coming out of the break. We immediately erased our halftime deficit, setting up a thrilling final fifteen minutes where neither team was able to extend their lead beyond two possessions.
This was heavyweight basketball against a really good SEC opponent, and we were absolutely holding our own. Two different times we surged ahead with multiple threes in quick succession, but LSU always had an answer.
Down The Stretch
In the end, our best chance to win was undone by a disastrous 42 seconds. Chandler hit two free throws to put us up 79-73 with 1:51 remaining, but we immediately allowed two threes sandwiched around a turnover.
Just like that, the chance for a signature home victory was gone.
End of regulation: Texas A&M 79, LSU 79
The Tigers hit a three right out of the gate and never relinquished the lead. We had multiple chances to tie the game, including two threes from Chuck Mitchell... but it just wasn’t in the cards.
The Tigers held on, and our single best performance of the season came up short.
Final Score: LSU 89, Texas A&M 85
- I can’t start anywhere else. Texas A&M Basketball, literally the worst three point shooting team in America, made FOURTEEN threes. That’s more than our last three games combined.
- This was our season-high in points (85). Our next highest total this season was 77… in a cakewalk against NW State. Our next highest total beyond that? The 69 we dropped on Vanderbilt over the weekend.
- This wasn’t just a hot shooting night. We were far more disciplined with the ball, dropping a season-high in assists (15) and a season-low in TO’s (7). We also forced 19 LSU turnovers, our second best effort of the season and our best in SEC play.
- We’re running out of superlatives for Josh Nebo, who had a season-high 20 points (6-8 FG; 8-15 FT) while adding 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 blocks in 42 minutes. If you don’t count his garbage time three point attempt in OT, he is 18-20 from the field in his last four games.
- Andre Gordon had another great game, scoring 17 points on 7-15 shooting, with 43 assists and a turnover. He is now averaging 13 PPG over his last four. Here’s a great feature on his backstory if you have a few minutes to spare.
- Flagg (16), Mitchell (11), and Chandler (10) also played well, marking the first time we’ve had five players clear double digits this season.
- I just spent the last hour gushing over a loss, so I suppose an entry from the other side is in order. Emannuel Miller was not the automatic rebounding answer for the first time all season, as he had 13 quiet minutes in a game where we were killed on the glass. The Tigers outrebounded us 48-32, which includes an absurd 51.6% offensive rebounding rate (by far our worst of the season).
The Tigers were white-hot entering this game, they gave us a huge punch in the mouth early, they shot well for all 40 minutes, and they grabbed offensive rebounds at will… and we just never went away. We fought, and we went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the conference.
This is the best I’ve felt about a loss in quite some time. And I’m not alone, as the Athletic Department cut a highlight video after a loss for the first time in forever.
Next up is a home tilt against the reeling South Carolina Gamecocks, who sit at 0-2 in the SEC with a home game against Kentucky tonight.
BTHO South Carolina