Well – It was just another big game for the Aggies, and it was just another big win.
The Aggies hung a cool hundred on the Longhorns last night in prevailing 100-82 before a record crowd of 13,196 at Reed Arena.
It was as about as unconventional of a game as we have maybe ever seen during the Billy Gillispie era.
The Aggies scored 100 points for only the 3rd time in the Gillispie era, and the 82 points scored by Texas was only the 3rd time anyone has put up 82+ on them (Texas and Kansas each scored 83 last season).
I am not sure if the most surprising thing is that the Aggies nearly set new Gillispie-era highs for points scored and points allowed in the same game or the furious pace at which they were able to play only 48 hours after leaving it all on the floor in the win at KU.
Acie mentioned how tough the bounce back was in saying, “"After the Kansas game we laid it all on the line, we had guys laying down in exhaustion in the locker room. We were so tired. But to come back home and get the 'W' in front of all these fans means a lot to us."
Gillispie also touched on it briefly, “We found a way to be ready to rock-n-roll. I don't know if it gets any tougher than that."
The first half began with the Aggies coming out on a furious pace jumping out to a 21-7 lead from the opening tip through the first 5+ minutes of the game.
The run was set up behind amazing balance as the Aggies not only knocked down a few shots from behind the arc, they also got a couple of great looks on the inside from AK, Joe and Josh Carter breaking to the basket.
The balance of the first half saw the Aggies commit a foul on nearly every possession which led to a TON of free-throws for our friends from Austin.
The Aggies were called for an absurd 16 fouls in the first half which led to 21 Longhorn free-throws (of which they made 20).
The most amazing statistic from the first half was that UT only made 8 field-goals (on 25 attempts – 32%), but still managed to put up 40 points before the break.
Ed Hightower and Steve Welmer (two officials who routinely work final four games) completely lost control of the game in the first half as there were a combined 27 fouls called in the first 20 minutes. That is 1.35 fouls per every minute of game time.
There were also 64 possessions combined between the two teams in the first period which means that every 2.3 possessions a foul was called. That is nearly a foul on every other possession. That is absurd; no game should ever be called that tight.
All of that being said, the Aggies knocked down 8 of their 12 three point attempts in the first half to hang on to a 45-40 lead at the break.
The second half saw Kavaliauskas exert himself inside and score the first 6 points for the Aggies.
Not to be outdone, Damion James and Kevin Durant got going for UT and the duo was able to tie the score at 51 apiece.
Acie Law and Josh Carter combined to bang-bang-bang and immediately push the lead back to 6 at 57-51.
Kevin Durant, showing just how dominant he can be, then scored the game’s next 7 points in a 1:08 stretch to put the Longhorns ahead by one at 58-57.
Over the next 7 minutes the teams continued to trade baskets (and have tons of fouls called on both teams). Two A.J. Abrams’ free throws pulled UT back to within 3 at 76-73 with 7:29 remaining.
40 seconds later Dominique Kirk would foul out, and 32 seconds after that Joe Jones would foul out as well.
At this point we saw two freshmen come in on a big stage and more-or-less grow up before our eyes. Donald Sloan and Bryan Davis both played their most important minutes of the season and both guys were HUGE in what was an amazing Aggie rally to close out the game.
From the 76-73 mark, the Aggies went on a 24-9 run to close out the game led by Josh Carter, Davis and Sloan.
“Those three guys (Davis, Sloan, and Carter) grew up a lot. That's what I believe Josh can be on a daily basis.” Said Gillispie.
Josh Carter finally showed the aggressive style we have seen flashes of in his nearly two years in an Aggie uniform. Josh was nothing short of spectacular on Monday night in scoring 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Davis (14 minutes) and Sloan (23 minutes) combined to account for 19 points and 8 rebounds.
I think what you are starting to see with Davis and Sloan is very reminiscent of what we saw with Carter and Kavaliauskas last season.
You are seeing two guys who have shown flashes of greatness but that are being brought along at a slower pace than we the fans would like to see. If you think about how much Josh and AK grew up last season imagine if you can even find something at all similar with Davis and Sloan.
Real quick lets talk about Acie Law.
The senior guard continues to amaze night after night. Acie had 21 points and a school record 15 assists last night and of those 15 assists, 7 of them were on three point baskets. That means Acie had a hand in 58 of the Aggies 100 points last night. Unbelievable.
Gillispie agreed in saying, “We have a guy out there that plays point guard for us. So far he's decided that he is not going to let us loose. We have a senior guard playing with a hunger. He is putting us on his shoulders no matter what the circumstance is.”
I would also be remiss if I did not mention AK and his 18 points and 11 rebounds.
- A&M’s 20-3 start is the best ever in the history of the school.
- A&M has won 20 games in three consecutive seasons for the first time ever.
- The two teams combined for 74 free throw attempts and 53 fouls (please similar rhetoric about the officials above).
- A&M has held 34 straight opponents to under 50% from the field.
- DeAndre Jordan and BJ Holmes were at the game again.
- Reggie McNeal was also at the game, no word on whether or not he (or Chris Henry) got arrested last night.
- Josh Carter’s 24 and 10 were his first career double-double.
The Aggies travel to Lincoln on Saturday night to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers at 7:00 pm.
Nebraska is coming off a controversial win (61-59) over Texas Tech on Saturday night.
Doc Sadler is in his first year at Nebraska and he is who took over at UTEP when Gillispie left for A&M. Sadler has a streaky team, and they can be very tough at home. The Aggies will certainly need to stay focused to avoid a letdown.
I do not know that I will put out a full preview before Saturday, but I will certainly send you guys a note with a few things to watch for before we head home on Friday.
For planning purposes, the game is on FSN in the state of Texas (I know it is on via all outlets in Houston, I am not sure yet about Dallas and San Antonio/Austin.)