We’re back on the board!
Gotta love a happy flight home!— Texas A&M Basketball (@aggiembk) January 30, 2021
Catch the highlights pic.twitter.com/4w0z9RcYoR
Coming into this game, it was not difficult to predict an ugly affair. Our turnover and shooting problems are well documented, and Kansas State... well, KenPom has them comfortably rated as the worst P5 team in college basketball.
It was always going to be a slog. Always. Yet the early product still came in below expectations.
We were 9-26 from the floor in the first half, which included a wild number of poor sets with last-second heaves, yet we were clearly the better(?) team offensively. We couldn’t do anything right, and the lead held. We looked horrid over a 1-for-9 passage of play, and the lead held.
The Wildcats put a small run together to close the gap approaching the break, but the whole thing was awful. Just awful. If you watched this first half, you’re eligible for a free bowl of soup.
Halftime Score: Texas A&M 24, Kansas State 23
On the other hand, the second half contained some shockingly competent offensive basketball. Kansas State flew out of the gates with a 7-for-10 passage that opened up a six point advantage, and we replied with a 7-for-9 stretch of our own to tie the game at 46-46 at the midway point of the half. When you consider that first half, it felt like both squads were driving immaculately at six hundred miles an hour.
The game reverted back to the mean approaching the final stretch, but both teams still played well above their first half nonsense. And when the Wildcats pushed the lead to 58-55 with 2:12 remaining, we were staring down the barrel of a truly terrible loss.
The Final Stretch
Savion Flagg forced his way to the bucket for a three-point play to tie it, and then we unveiled a full court press for the remainder of the game.
It was a wild success.
The Wildcats routinely struggled to break our pressure, and we were able to turn defense into a boatload of late-game free throw trips. And we made ‘em! Jackson and Gordon in particular were huge during this sequence, combining to go 10-for-10 from the line when the game was still very much in the balance.
Final Score: Texas A&M 68, Kansas State 61
We found the Senior leadership we’ve been desperately searching for. Flagg and Chandler had their fingerprints all over the offense, and Jackson and Marfo offered a great deal of support outside the scoring column. On a squad with four Seniors, this is the type of thing we can hopefully expect to see more often. And y’all... we took care of the basketball! Our nine turnovers yielded a 14.5% turnover rate, which was by far our best effort of the season. It was a choppy ride, but we closed this game out in impressive fashion.
Next up is a very winnable home game against Vanderbilt... dare we try to stack two wins together in 2021?