OSU Recap - by Brad Mauritzen
Game Recap (by - Brad Mauritzen)
In front of a loud, whited-out, record crowd of 13,187, the 8th-ranked Aggies took care of business against the 12th- ranked Cowboys, giving legitimacy to their high ranking and putting themselves alone in first place in the Big 12.
The Ags jumped on OSU early, forcing them to take 2 timeouts in the first 2 ½ minutes of the game, and with the exception of a 7-minute stretch at the beginning of the 2nd half, dominated the Cowboys for most of the night.
If you had been told before the game that Jones & Law would combine for 9 points in the first half, with Jones attempting his first shot at the 11:29 mark and Acie only playing 8 of the first 20 minutes, you might have assumed that A&M would be in trouble. But AK had 10 first half points despite missing a few minutes with a bloody nose, Sloan (although Gillespie said “he played like a freshman in the first half”) was capable in place of Acie, and Kirk/Jones/AK/Carter played smothering D that limited the Pokes to 49 total points, 36 below their season average and their lowest output of the year.
In the first half, OSU had some success utilizing high screens, creating mis-matches on the slow switches and allowing them to knock down 5 3-pointers, including 3 by JamesOn Curry. Regardless, A&M built a 15-point lead in the first half and went into the locker room with a 10-point advantage.
The second half started out sloppy. On both ends of the floor, it was turnover, missed shot, missed shot, turnover, etc. Even though A&M was limited to 2 points in the first 7:29 of the half, OSU was only able to whittle their deficit down to 3 points. But Marlon Pompey hit a jumper to fuel an 8-2 A&M run and the Ags never looked back after that. The Ags also did a much better job of fighting through the screens in the 2nd half, limiting the Pokes to 1-7 from downtown. The Ags’ D was also able keep Mario Boggan in check, holding him to 11 points in 38 minutes, half of his average of 22 and also his lowest total of the season.
A&M built the lead up to 19 points with 2:07 remaining and finished it off with a final score of 67-49. 12 different Aggies saw the floor, but with only Sloan and Pompey getting significant minutes off the bench. There were 2 brief Tellus sightings, and even Beau Mulbach got to shoot a couple of FTs in the first half in place of an injured AK.
This was a HUGE win for the Ags. The knock against them had been that they hadn’t beaten a good team, losing to the only 2 ranked teams they had played. OSU is a solid, well-coached team, will contend for a first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament, and will definitely go to the Big Dance in March.
- Pompey entered the game in the first half and promptly gave up a 3 on a slow screen switch, turned the ball over, committed a foul, and turned it over again, all in 1:44 game time; however, in the 2nd half, his desperately-need bucket started the 8-2 run that gave the Ags a comfortable lead, and his dunk with 6:12 ignited the crowd and kept it going
- The crowd was unbelievable…the student section was full and all-white by 6pm, and they kept it loud the entire game
- Acie Law had only 5 points, all scored in the first 5:30 of the game, until the 4:09 mark of the 2nd half. He then scored 11 of the Ags’ last 13 points, with his traditional late-game pull-up jumpers, buckets in transition, and free throws, earning him player of the game honors from the radio crew
- A&M was abysmal from behind the 3-point arc, connecting on only 3 of 14, all in the first half. Josh Carter was 0-6, but he didn’t get as many open looks as usual because JamesOn Curry was on him tightly most of the night. However, he did take Curry hard off the dribble twice, both times pulling up and hitting the 2-point jumper. Even though he couldn’t buy a 3, it was good to see him try to penetrate baseline and pull up and score
- Kirk did a great job on Curry. He did score 20 points, but 9 of them were on 3s in the first half when A&M had an issue on switching, and 6 were from the FT line. And it’s okay to give up 20 to Curry when you limit Boggan to 11 and only allow 5 players to score
- After the game, Gillespie was asked if he could lead the nation in any statistic, would he prefer it to be opponents’ FG %. He quipped (paraphrasing) “No, I’d rather lead in shooting percentage. If we could just make 100% of our shots, then we wouldn’t really have to worry about defense, because that takes quite a toll on me in practice and in the games. Ask the players, and they’ll tell you the same thing.” Classic…
- The student section usually jumps up and yells in unison on one of the first FT attempts by the opponent each game…it often creates a miss. I’d imagine it’s pretty startling. It worked in the first half on Eaton, but in my opinion they over-used it on Saturday. Afterwards, when A&M attempted a free throw, a lady in orange in front of me (behind the basket at the top of the lower bowl) jumped up and screamed, all by herself. Although Carter hit the FT, everyone around her laughed and gave her a good round of applause
The Ags travel to Lubbock on Wednesday to take on the Red Raiders at 7:00. Tech is fresh off an emotional upset of 5th-ranked Kansas . On the whole, this is the position in which you want your opponent to be…coming off a big win and poised for a let-down game.
The game is on Ch. 55 KTBU in Houston – I will post the full TV clearance as soon as it becomes available.