We played well at home!
We had managed to grind our way to 4-4 in conference play while keeping most of our good basketball away from College Station, but we resolved that issue in a big way last night.
We did an excellent job defensively to start this game.
The Tigers were held to their season low in a half, scoring 18 points on 23% shooting in the opening frame. And while our offense wasn’t pretty, we were able to use a 10-2 run in the latter portion of the half to build a decent advantage.
I tell you what, it was nice to see someone else below that 20 point barrier.
Halftime Score: Texas A&M 25, Missouri 18
We’re normally the better team coming out of the break, but that wasn’t the case last night. Missouri flipped the script and ground our lead down to two in the opening six minutes, and my guard was up given our recent home performances.
At that point, we decided to try something new. We decided to give the home fans something to get excited about.
The Aggies immediately responded with a 15-4 run to push the lead to 13, and we never turned back. It wasn’t always elegant, but it was built on the things I’ve come to love about this team. Defensive Intensity. Determination. Fight. And a shitload of rebounds.
We eventually ran away with this game, culminating in one of the cooler moments at home we’ve had this season.
ᴇxᴄʟᴀᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴘᴏɪɴᴛ ( )— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) February 5, 2020
1: a mark ❗ used especially after an interjection or exclamation to indicate forceful utterance or strong feeling
2: a distinctive indication of major significance, interest, or contrast
3: this #GigEm pic.twitter.com/hjqQaLd5Ct
Final Score: Texas A&M 68, Missouri 51
- For the second time in three games, we posted an offensive rebounding rate over fifty percent! We missed 42 shots, and we got 23 offensive rebounds. That’s the kind of stuff you see when varsity scrimmages JV, and we’ve done it to an SEC opponent twice in ten days.
- Emanuel Miller led the way on that front, grabbing nine offensive rebounds en route to his first double-double (10 points, 13 rebounds) of the season. He’s averaging 9.7 points and 8.5 rebounds over the last three weeks, and has developed into a quality starter at power forward.
- We finally fed Josh Nebo! We can sometimes struggle to get him the ball, but he set a new season high in field goal attempts (14) last night. We were rewarded with 18 points and a friendly reminder of an almost universal truth: This team looks better when he’s involved offensively.
- It was referenced at the outset, but I have to mention it again. Our defensive effort was incredible. Missouri had 65 possessions, and they only made 15 field goals.
- Quenton Jackson had his best game of the season, dropping a season-high 16 points in an efficient 31 minutes of action. His recent burst coincided with another lull from Savion Flagg, potentially placing that fifth “crunch time” spot up for grabs. This may become a situation where the hot hand carries the day late.
In the immediate aftermath of the Orlando Invitational, we were almost universally accepted as the worst team in P5 college basketball. And yet... we just closed the opening half of the SEC slate at 5-4. We absorbed countless personnel blows and the worst start to a season imaginable, and we turned things around while completely buying in to Buzz Williams’ culture. This is no longer a question of when the new infrastructure will take hold.
Now, our questions are forward-looking, and they’re much more fun. Can we continue to push this turnaround ahead of schedule? Can we push for a top-half SEC finish and a (*gasp*) NIT berth? And most importantly... just how much effing damage are we going to do when the talent pipeline comes flooding in?
The good guys look to push their record to 6-4 with a weekend road trip to visit the Gamecocks.
BTHO South Carolina