This felt like the official start of the 2020-2021 campaign. Sure, the team had fared well in a series of home “buy” games, but our two P5 games to date had been absolute blowouts.
We needed something like this in the worst way, and our guys overcame some atrocious late game officiating to get the job done.
Highlights from the Aggies' 68-66 victory over Auburn pic.twitter.com/Ju2WIkMEIN— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) January 2, 2021
The first fifteen minutes of this game were... not great. We held Auburn to 6-23 from the field to start the game, but we couldn’t get out of our own way on the offensive end. We finally won the race to 20 points with three minutes remaining in the first half (which is wild), and we used that excitement to kickstart a 16-2 run that also doubled as the first interesting passage of play of the afternoon. We played three minutes of good basketball, Auburn played zero minutes of good basketball, and the halftime score felt right.
Halftime Score: Texas A&M 33, Auburn 22
We pushed the lead to 14 at the first media break, but you’re never fully safe playing against a Bruce Pearl team... because Bruce Pearl teams can shoot. The Tigers hit five threes during a ghastly seven-possession defensive stretch late in the second half, and we found ourselves in a close game down the stretch.
It was at this point, clinging to a 64-62 lead, that we were on the wrong end of a really bad call.
We have a review system that can make games take three hours, but this is non reviewable?! pic.twitter.com/oacLC2XikM— David (@gigthem08) January 2, 2021
That was not called out of bounds, and Auburn turned it into an easy transition bucket. Emanuel Miller restored our lead with a clutch offensive rebound on the other end, but then we were on the wrong end of ANOTHER really bad call. I don’t have a screenshot for this one, but imagine Jay Jay Chandler getting laid out by an Auburn Free Safety on the basketball floor and you’ll generally have the idea. Again, the non-call leads to an Auburn transition bucket, and we’re looking at a 66-66 ballgame.
It is at this point, while I’m contemplating my carefully worded (ha) tweet to the SEC Officials twitter account, that Andre Gordon salvages the afternoon for everyone.
Final Score: Texas A&M 68, Auburn 66
Our shortened preseason and general knack for being on either end of a whipping landed us in an unfamiliar spot approaching our SEC home opener - we had no idea how we’d react in a close game. Shoot, we had no idea who’d play in a close game. In that context, it was especially satisfying to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole.
Next we hit the road against the Gamecocks, whose bizarre COVID-laced offseason has seen them play only four games to date. Not exactly a ton of tape on these guys.
BTHO South Carolina