Texas A&M Basketball just grabbed their third straight SEC road win, and this was the most impressive one yet.
We were utterly dominant on the offensive glass, and Chuck Mitchell provided just enough spark offensively to see us through to safety.
For those unfamiliar, SEC mid-week tip times are typically 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. This one started at 5:30, and I’m not sure anyone told the players... because I’m not sure how else to explain the opening portion of the first half.
Bad, I guess.
Quenton Jackson had a thunderous breakaway dunk to wake the stadium from their early evening siesta, but even the remainder of this period was an absolute drag.
We clung to a one-point advantage at the break, but that’s not the fun part. The fun part is coming.
Halftime Score: Texas A&M 25, Tennessee 24
The Vols looked poised to pull away with an early spurt that pushed their advantage to six, and we continued to sputter along offensively... but we clamped down, forcing eight straight Tennessee missed field goals over a scoreless six-minute drought.
At this point, what can only be described as an “offensive rebounding surge” kicked in.
We started to routinely get 2-3 shots per possession, and that aggressiveness yielded easy buckets and multiple trips to the line. The end result was a 16-3 “second chance points” advantage, 29 free throw attempts, and a new lease on life. It was ugly, but it was effective.
And with the game tied at 53, Chuck Mitchell put us ahead for good with under a minute remaining.
Final Score: Texas A&M 63, Tennessee 58
- I have never, ever seen home/road splits like this. We’ve dropped our last three at home, we’ve won our last three on the road, and everything I know about college basketball is a lie. Perhaps it’s good news that we still have two out of our next three on the road.
- Texas A&M Basketball has won four of their last five at Tennessee.
- Texas A&M had more offensive rebounds (23) than Tennessee had total rebounds (21). This is rarefied air, and I have to imagine tonight’s 57.5% offensive rebounding rate was one of the best in the country.
- Quenton Jackson (11 points) hit double figures for the third time in four games. It sometimes takes these JC guys a while to find their stride, but I think he’s made the jump.
- Miller led the team in rebounding again, but he’s also bumped up the scoring in the last two weeks. He’s third in the SEC in defensive rebounding rate, and he’s going to mess around and make a quiet push for SEC All-Freshman team.
- Chandler (Coach’s Decision) and French (Undisclosed Injury) did not see action. Chandler’s benching is almost assuredly a holdover from last weekend’s ugly OSU ejection.
Part of Buzz’s post game press conference really struck a chord with me this evening.
“Without sounding condescending, that’s kind of the only chance we have [...] is to play with an incredible fire. And I think it doesn’t ensure success for us, but it at least gives us a chance.”
Buzz is killing it on the recruiting trail, and it won’t be long before we’re rarely the less-talented team on the floor. And that’s good. That’s what you want. But even when that day arrives, it won’t feel quite the same as watching these guys scrap for every single piece of success they find.
Next up for our road warriors? A weekend road trip to Athens.