Heading into this game we knew we were definitely better than the dregs of D1 basketball, and we knew we weren’t ready for the big stage against P5 opposition. This victory, while comfortable, did nothing to change that perception.
Let’s break it down.
Last weekend’s nightmare surely led to a series of (cough) “spirited” film sessions, so it was nice to see us fly out to an 11-3 lead by the opening media break. With SE Louisiana reeling, we extended the lead to 25-10 and killed off any chance of a surprise. It was a boring half of basketball, but in an efficient way. Satisfying. Inevitable. Like a 19 play drive with 17 runs at four yards a clip.
It’s worth noting that we toyed around with the rotation a fair amount, which allowed the Lions to hang around. Aside from Diarra, we’re still struggling to integrate the new arrivals in a meaningful way. And we’re running out of time.
Halftime Score: Texas A&M 31, SE Louisiana 19
We killed the game off in the opening ten minutes of the second half, which culminated in a legitimately enjoyable 9-for-11 stretch that might have been our best offensive hoops this year. There’s not too much else to discuss down the stretch... both sides played out the string, and the final margin of victory was a fair reflection of where the gap had been basically the entire evening.
Final Score: Texas A&M 69, SE Louisiana 52
- Emanuel Miller is emerging as our best offensive threat, grinding his way to a seemingly nightly double-double. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds on an efficient 8/11 shooting, and his second year leap is the single most notable development this season.
- Our opening half (12/21 for 57.1%) marked our best shooting effort so far, which combined nicely with our best defensive half of the season (19 total points).
- We never trailed. Always fun.
- Gordon recovered nicely with 10 points, 4 assists, and (most importantly) 1 turnover. His comfort level makes a massive difference in our offensive efficiency.
- The Marfo/Aku combo... hasn’t become the strength I was expecting. This has been masked by Miller’s emergence, but I’m officially concerned about our depth at this position.
In the context of last season’s start, results like this are still encouraging. These games were dicey last year, which is always useful to remember. Having said that... the truncated non-conference schedule is going to toss into SEC play with one (ugly) data point against P5 opposition. As comfortable as these games have been, it’s tough to know if it’s going to translate when the heat gets turned up.
Wofford is up next, and they’re a tougher opponent than the non-TCU teams we’ve faced to date. If we cruise in that one, I’ll have legitimate optimism headed into our SEC opener against LSU.