I thought the Aggies showed very well in their 1st ever non-conference broadcast television performance. I was glad to see Acie Law bounce back from not only a miserable two game slump, but also a miserable start to the game.
Acie finished with 21 points on 10 of 20 from the field. I was quite worried when Acie started out Turnover / Miss / Miss / Turnover / Miss, but the senior team leader was able to finally settle in and helped the Aggies hang around long enough to have a chance at the end.
The first 5 minutes were pretty rough and tumble as it took a few minutes for both teams to settle into a rhythm on either end of the floor. Once they did, a pretty darn good basketball game broke out. Both groups were able to knock down a few shots on offense while playing stifling man-to-man defense on the other end.
There were a few things that stood out that may have ultimately cost the good guys a chance on Saturday, the back-to-back 3’s by Collison going to the half, the 12 first half turnovers, the inexplicable 3 point attempt by Joe Jones with 25 seconds left, AK missing the front end of a 1-and-1 late in the game, etc. etc. etc.
All of that being said, when you add it all up and take a look at what happened, the Aggies went toe-to-toe with the #1 team in the country and let them slide out with a narrow victory.
Scattered thoughts from the UCLA game on Saturday:
I thought Collison gave the Aggies fits – his quickness and ability to guard the ball were way more impressive that I would have guessed.
I still am amazed at how the Aggies were unable to establish an interior game with AK and Joe. That being said, the Aggies interior rebounding was great. They out-rebounded the Bruins by a margin of 34 to 23, including only giving up 9 offensive boards.
Josh Carter, hello? Josh, anyone there? Josh, where are you? In the long run, this team is going to need Josh Carter to score the basketball in order to win games. They are not going to be able to get away with Josh playing 28 minutes, standing around in the corner on the offensive end, and only putting up 3 shots the entire game. They have to find a way to get this kid involved. Can we run him off a double screen? Can we use him on a back-cut to the basket? How about a little screen, step, and pop? Very frustrating.
We talked about Carter vs. Shipp on Friday night - - Josh Shipp (18 points 4 rebounds) got the better of Josh Carter and was a major factor in this game.
I thought A&M did a pretty good job of keeping Afflalo off balance most of the day.
I thought Donald Sloan was outstanding. I hope this was a major step for the freshman. I like seeing he and Acie on the floor together, especially since they both have the ability to create off of the dribble and get all the way to the rack. Donald will be a nice addition to the offense once he gets going and just another way to keep defenses guessing.
I’m very disappointed that the Aggies were not able to pull out a win in either of these two games this week, but I am certain that we will all see the benefits of the improved schedule come February and March.
I thought it was cool to hear Nantz and Packer speak so highly about the Aggies current program and even drop some Shelby Metcalf knowledge out there. I also could not believe they were able to rattle off the starting 5 from the 1980 Sweet 16 team. Good stuff.
Let’s hope it is not the last time Nantz and Packer call an A&M game this season.
Tuesday – Fordham 8:00 Reed Arena
Saturday – Jacksonville 8:00 Reed Arena
I will not be going to either game this week so I will not be able to let you know what we learned. That being said - do not forget that you can watch every non-confrence home game free online at AggieAthletics.com. (Free within the state of Texas - - out of state will cost you $5 or $6.)
I don’t know much about Fordham or Jacksonville other than the fact that Fordham is not great and Jacksonville St. is substantially worse.
Each team has played a couple of brand-name teams - Fordham has lost to Tennessee (78-71) and Maryland (79-59). Jacksonville has lost to Florida (90-61) and UCF (99-62).
Also – As I am typing this, the ESPN/USA Today poll was just released and the Aggies fell to #13. I would expect a range of 12-14 for the AP later today as well. Other Big XII teams ranked in the top 25 include #12 Kansas and #17 Oklahoma State. Personally, I’m a little surprised UT didn’t jump into the polls after beating LSU last night.