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Henry Coleman Breaks the Mustangs, Ags Get Ready for Fort Worth

The roles have evolved, but the results look familiar

Henry Coleman Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Aggie men returned to Reed Arena on Wednesday night to take on the SMU Mustangs. Despite their best efforts early, SMU looked outmanned and outgunned from the jump. A&M took an early lead on a Tyrece Radford putback and remained in control of the game wire-to-wire, picking up a 19-point victory.

Henry Coleman was the story of this game as he looked capable of dominating this game from the tip. Coleman got off to a slow start despite finding several good looks on the interior, missing his first four attempts from the field. However, once the shots started to fall, Henry went off in a big way. Coleman finished the game with 23 points and 5 boards. This was his first 20-point game since the Aggies’ SEC tournament opener against Florida last season.

Not to be outdone, Wade Taylor filled up the box score as well, racking up 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 0 turnovers, and 9 assists (!!!). This represented a career high in assists for Taylor. Julius Marble picked up the slack early while Coleman struggled and finished with 10 points, 4 boards, 2 steals, and a block. This was a much more balanced scoring attack from the prior game against DePaul, as 10 different Ags logged points in this one. The A&M bench contributed 26 points to the effort, and the team as a whole shot 49.2% from the field and 35.3% from deep. The Aggies limited themselves to 9 turnovers on offense while picking up 11 steals and creating 19 turnovers on defense. Rebounding continues to be a point of concern for A&M as they were outrebounded 37-35 and gave up 25 second chance points.

The opening 15 minutes of the game were a back-and-forth affair in which the Aggies maintained a single-digit lead. A&M led by just 5 with five minutes remaining but went on a 10-3 run in the next two minutes to expand their lead to triple digits. The Mustangs stabilized the Aggie charge, and the first half ended with a 45-36 A&M advantage. SMU battled back in the opening minutes of the second half, narrowing the gap to just 5 points with thirteen minutes remaining. Then the Aggies opened the flood gates with a 19-4 run, giving them a 71-51 lead with six minutes to go. That spelled the Mustangs doom, and A&M cruised to an 83-64 victory.

Wade Taylor returned to the starting lineup in this one after coming off the bench in the last two games, but he again spent a significant portion of the offensive possessions as an off guard. In Buzz Williams’s motion offense, this essentially means that he’s not the primary guard bringing the ball up the floor and initiating the possession. Taylor is an exceptional point guard, but he tends to dominate the ball, which delays the offense from initiating and limits the offense movement that this system seeks to create. With the ball in another player’s hands, the Aggies are getting into the offensive flow faster and are still able to utilize Wade’s quickness from different positions on the floor, often with a mismatch that is easier for him to exploit.

Next up, the Aggies head to Fort Worth for a showdown with Boise State at the Battleground 2k22 at Dickies Arena on Saturday at 6:00 PM. Tickets are still available, and this will be an exciting doubleheader that also features the #1 Houston Cougars against Saint Mary’s. The Boise State Broncos are currently 5-2 on the season, with notable wins over Washington State as well as Loyola Chicago and Colorado in the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

The Broncos are led in scoring by 6’ 2” fifth year guard Marcus Shaver, Jr. who averages 15 points per game. Shaver is complemented by 6’ 7” sophomore forward Tyson Degenhart who adds 14.7 points per game. The Aggies will have their hands full on the glass as Boise State is an exceptional rebounding team. Boise State also presents a significant challenge on the interior with seven players 6’ 7” or taller. This should be an exciting matchup that could be a solid resume booster for the Aggies’ tournament resume if they pick up a win.