Sunday, January 14, 2007

Colorado Recap

Game Recap

The Aggies went north and managed their second straight road win in beating Colorado by 17 points (87-69).

I love Coach Gillispie - - Here is what he had to say after the Aggies’ win in Boulder:

"They just whipped us and made us like it. They outplayed us, outcoached us, out every-thinged us. We didn't deserve to win. We got whipped."

"We never had a sincere desire to think. We try to play hard, smart and together. I thought we played together and that was about it."

"You can't continue to play like we're playing and continue to win."

"They beat us in every facet of the game; I couldn't tell you right now how we won."

Look – I do not know how many of you guys got to see the game on Saturday night, but I think Coach is overreacting just a tad.

I know that this group has a “defense first” mentality, and they certainly had their most lackluster performance of the year on the defensive end of the floor. In fact, Colorado scored more points (69) than anyone has managed to put up against the Aggies so far this year.

While A&M could not stop Colorado in transition, personally, I think they did manage to get a couple of things right on the defensive end.

Colorado only shot 38% from the field (23-for-61) on the game. This number includes a sorry 2-for-12 from behind the arc (17%). When A&M did get back on defense I thought their defensive pressure was ok (not good or great, but it was ok).

I also think the best thing to take away from the Aggies defensive effort was that Dominique Kirk did a great job on Richard Roby. DK played all 40 minutes (at altitude) and held Roby to 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

I think where most of Gillispie’s frustration is coming from is that Colorado nearly ran A&M out of the gym. The Aggies rarely got back in transition to slow the Buffs down, and they are fortunate that Colorado was unable to take better advantage of these opportunities.

You can get away with that kind of defensive effort against Colorado but not against Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas. That group of 3 teams will kill you if you do not manage to slow down their attack and let them force tempo on the offensive end.

What I want to focus on here for a moment is what the Aggies were able to do on the offensive end of the floor. Saturday night was one of the best all-around offensive games the starters have managed to put together this season.

The five starters scored 81 of the Aggies’ 87 points and shot 55% from the floor on 28-of-51 shooting. It is also worth noting the starters were 8-of-12 (67%) from behind the arc. They were very efficient all night long, and the offense had a much better flow to it.

Welcome back Joseph Jones! Good to see you again kid!

Big Joe had a great game in scoring 18 hard-earned points and pulled down a career high 15 rebounds. Joe played 34 tough minutes and only picked up 2 fouls. He struggled at times with the altitude but at the end of the day he left it all on the floor. Joe was outstanding, and it was good to see him bounce back after struggling a little bit over the last couple of games.

Despite playing only 24 minutes and fouling out, Josh Carter made a major contribution on the offensive end. Josh added 19 points on 7-of-11 from the field (5-for-7 from deep).

Kavaliauskas also had a solid all-around game on the offensive end. His minutes were limited as well by foul trouble, but he managed to add 15 points and 5 rebounds.

Finally, Acie Law, who (you guessed it) was also saddled with foul trouble most of the night, made the most of his 27 minutes by scoring a team high 21 points. The senior guard was great in the 2nd half as 15 of those 21 points came in the last 10 minutes of the game.

Speaking of the last 10 minutes, Colorado managed to climb back to within one point at 56-57 with 9:42 remaining in the contest. The Aggies promptly went on a 19-3 run to extend the lead to 76-59 with 3:32 left and that was all she wrote.

The first half also featured a very impressive Aggie run. Colorado jumped out to a 25-18 lead over the first 12 minutes as it looked like the good guys were sleep walking and going through the motions. The Aggies ripped off the next 15 points of the game to surge to a 33-25 lead. They managed to push that margin to 12 at 42-30 before Colorado scored the final 6 points of the half to cut the lead to 42-36 at the break.

The bottom line is this - - it was a great week for the Aggies as you will take back-to-back road wins any time you can get them in this league. In order to win the regular-season conference title, you are going to have to win 6 or 7 of your 8 road games. While the Aggies have probably played 2 of their 3 least challenging road games, you will take any win on the road you can get, especially in back-to-back situations.

They now head into their “bye” week (no mid-week game this week) before they host the OSU Cowboys on Saturday the 20th.

Quick Hits

- For the second game in a row Acie Law was phenomenal when going to the basket. It has been great to see him take better advantage of his quick first step and beat his man while driving all the way to the rack.

- The Aggies, as a team, shot 53% (30-of-57) on the night which included a very impressive 57% (8-for-14) from the three-point line.

- Joe Jones was great (again) from the free throw line by converting 8 of 11 attempts. Joe has fallen to 3rd in the league in free-throw percentage averaging .854 from the line (Terrell Harris from OSU leads at .857).

- Maybe I am just imagining it, but it looked like to me that there were a number of plays designed to help get Josh Carter open tonight. It seemed like they were running him around more screens and double screens along the baseline. I also thought Josh did a better job of moving forward and going to the basket.

- I came away impressed with Colorado guard Dominique Coleman. The 6’3” senior who can play both guard positions had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists.

- I hope you have your OSU tickets in hand as the game has already sold out.

- Martellus Bennett made a brief appearance in the first half. That was good to see.

Looking Ahead

The Aggies host the nationally-ranked OSU Cowboys on Saturday night at 7:00. This is the first big-time game at Reed Arena this season and the students have declared the game as the first official “White Out” game. If you are planning on going to the game be sure and wear white. Reed should be rockin’ and the atmosphere will be great.

With the bye-week this week I will try and put out a full preview for the game by Thursday this week.

OSU hosts Texas on Tuesday at 8:00 (ESPN2) this week in Stillwater (if the weather cooperates).

Aggie Hoops Report’s Big 12 Player of the Week

Kevin Durant – Texas
Durant had two more monster games this week. 34 points and 13 rebounds in the Longhorn’s win over Missouri on Wednesday. He then came back on Saturday and went for 28 and 13 in the Longhorn’s win over Oklahoma on Saturday.

This week you stopped hearing people say “He may be the best freshman in the nation.” and you started hearing people say “He may be the best player in the nation.”

If he keeps this up, we’ll just rename this weekly honor to be the “Kevin Durant Award” and go with someone else each week.

If you have not watched UT play this year, take time to watch this kid, he is simply awesome.

Also considered:
Acie Law – Texas A&M – 41 points combined in two Aggie road wins.
Sasha Kaun – Kansas – Played great in helping to lead Kansas to two big wins this week.


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