Stuck In The Mud - UNT
Well - For the second game in a row the good guys played like their feet were stuck in the mud.
Last night's game was marred by a combined 51 fouls and 64 free throw attempts.
The officiating was very inconsistent and the refs blew their whistles so frequently that neither team could really get into a rhythm.
With the exception of Joseph Jones, everyone looked pretty average or downright bad for the Aggies. The big fella had a career high 35 points and grabbed 13 boards. He was a beast and if it were not for him busting his hump in the second half they would have in all likelihood lost. This kid works so hard on both ends of the floor, it was great to see him put the team on his back and carry them to a win.
He was so hot last night that in the second half, he caught the ball at the top of the key and drained a 3. On the very next possession he caught it in the exact same place and put it up again and it rimmed out.
Even Gillespie couldn't help but smile.
Everyone else for the most part played and looked like they were absolutely exhausted. They only shot 38% on the game on 19 of 50.
Players not named Joseph Jones combined to go 10 for 35 or 29%, that's not going to win many games in big 12 play.
Acie Law had a pretty tough night. He looked really out of it. He never looked focused and didn't put a shot up until 7:30 left in the first half and didn't have his first make until just over the 4 minute mark of the first.
Josh Carter had a tough night shooting for the second game in a row.
A&M also committed 22 turnovers and only had 15 assists. The 15 assists on 19 makes looks pretty good until you realize that most of those were guys on the perimeter feeding Jo on the block.
There was no perimeter ball movement and they never looked settled in the offense. UNT did a great job of mixing zone and man defenses to keep them off-balance all night.
Gillespie also used some interesting rotations with Edjuan Green and Kennith White both getting increased minutes. This included about a five minute stretch where it was Green, White, Law, Pompey, and Jones. I think they only scored one field goal and a couple of free throws with that group on the floor. It was very tough to watch. I guess when it was going so bad he was trying to find a combination that would work.
Chris Walker only got 10 minutes (which was good to see). His heart and hustle are unmatched, but as I have said before, they are going to be better off in the long run with him playing fewer minutes. 10 minutes off the bench should be his role on this team.
Martellus played about 5 minutes and was VERY eager to contribute. He was so excited the first time he touched the ball that he took about 7 shuffle steps on his way to the hoop and clearly got called for traveling. He then put up an out-of-control shot that didn't stand a chance of going in on his second touch.
He did have a great block on a follow shot inside by UNT. Once he gets in basketball shape (he was winded and had his hands on his hips almost immediately) and learns where he is supposed to be on both ends of the floor he could be a difference maker.
There is no doubt that he is a great athlete.
A&M also missed 8 free throws in the first half including 2 that were the front end of a 1-and-1 situation. They ended up shooting 74% on the game, but that was on the strength of 12-14 in the second half. I was glad to see them knock them down when they needed them most.
The good news is that a win is a win and you will absolutely take all of them that you can get at this point in the season. I really thought they would bounce back after such a poor second half against Penn State, but UNT came in with other ideas and played well above what was expected.
Next up is Grambling on Saturday at 2:00.