Sunday, December 09, 2007

Arizona & Texas State Recaps

Howdy guys - Today we're going to take a quick look back at the Aggies’ tough loss at Arizona last Sunday and their lopsided win over Texas State on Saturday night back at Reed Arena.

Arizona Recap

The Aggies traveled to the desert southwest to take on the Arizona Wildcats, a match-up put together as part of the inaugural Big 12 / Pac-10 Hardwood Series. We talked about before the game how Arizona was probably better than their 4-2 record would have indicated and to not be fooled by the fact that they were not ranked. Well?

For the first 15 minutes of the game, the Texas Aggies came out and easily played their finest stretch of basketball so far this season. I think we were all amazed how easily Turgeon's boys cruised out to an effortless 32-12 lead at the 6:47 mark of the first half.

Offensively they were getting the job done on the inside, the outside, and it did not appear to matter what they threw up, it was all finding a way to catch the bottom of the net. They were also playing some stellar man-to-man defense that seemed to catch the young Wildcats a little bit off guard.

The crazy thing was that Arizona jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead before the Aggies went on a 30-to-7 monster run and absolutely took control of the early portion of the ballgame.

What happened from there?

Introducing Jerryd Bayless.

Bayless, a true freshman from the Phoenix area, scored 11 points in the last 6:25 of the first half to help the Wildcats get back within 12 points (40-28) as the game headed to the break.

The halftime pause did not slow down the freshman phenom as Bayless also scored the first 4 points out of the intermission and knocked the Aggies’ lead back down to single-digits for the first time since the 14:18 mark of the first half. It became very clear to everyone in the McKale center and a nationwide TV audience that we had a whole new game on our hands and that we were likely in for a tough finish coming down the stretch.

As Arizona, led by Bayless and super-sophomore Chase Budinger, continued to chop away at the Aggie lead, Josh Carter and Bryan Davis keyed a little Aggie surge that put the good guys back ahead 60-59 with just over 6 minutes left in the contest.

Unfortunately, the Aggies’ late rally was not nearly enough, and the Wildcats pulled away from the good guys as the game continued to tick away. It got so bad for A&M - they were only able to muster one basket over the final 4:10 of the contest in route to losing by 11 points 67-to-78.

It was hard to wrap your mind around what transpired in that game, going from looking simply unbeatable in the early part, to getting absolutely smoked down the stretch.

"Nothing went our way in the second half, and Arizona had a lot to do with it," Turgeon was quoted as saying. "The first 15 minutes we were pretty good. The last 25, it was like our offense was nonexistent."

I think the biggest thing to take away from this game is something like what last year's team did after losing to LSU in Baton Rouge. Last year's group lost that inexplicable game against the Bayou Bengals and seemed to rally together afterwards, and it marked a low-point in their season.

Turgeon seems to be hoping for a similar response this year, "We had some young guys," Turgeon said. "When the crowd got into it, we were not tough enough. We will be, we just were not tonight."

A couple of quick hits from the Arizona game:

- Arizona shot 24 second-half free-throws to the Aggies’ 9.

- Joe Jones only played 23 total minutes as he was plagued by foul trouble for nearly the entire second half.

- The Aggies shot a sizzling 60% (12-for-25) from the field in the first half and an ice-cold 34.5% (10-for-29) in the second period.

- Josh Carter bounced back nicely from his struggles in NYC to lead the Aggies with 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field including 3 three-pointers; he also led the team in rebounding with 5.

- The Aggies were outscored 50-27 in the second half and 66-35 from the point where they lead 32-12 in the first period. YIKES!

Texas State Recap

On Saturday night the Aggies got a dose of whatever it was they needed and responded nicely in hammering the visitors from San Marcos by a final score of 109-to-73 to run their non-conference home win streak to 40 games. The 109 points were the most scored by the Aggies at Reed Arena and the most by any Aggie team since 1989 when they beat Florida International 114-90.

DeAndre Jordan and Donald Sloan both set career highs by scoring 18 points each while Jordan also grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds. In-fact, Jordan made 6 field goals on the night and all of them were dunks. It turned out that Jordan was just leading the way in what was a night where the Aggies must have been quite angry at the rims inside Reed Arena. On the night, of the Aggies’ 41 field goals, 17 of them were dunks.

They had such a prolific night shooting the basketball that if you removed three-point field goals, the Aggies made 34-of-42 (81%) of their two-point attempts. The Aggies outscored the Bobcats in the paint by a 62-to-20 margin.

Turgeon managed to get 18 guys into the game and of the 8 regulars, only DeAndre Jordan (23 minutes) and Donald Sloan (22 minutes) played more than 20 minutes for the Aggies.

"You're able to show off your skills in a game like tonight," said Donald Sloan. "You can go out there and just show what you can do."

It was good to see the Aggies having a great time flying around, scoring at will and laughing on the bench when the back-end reserves were making plays late in the second half.

Texas State Quick Hits:

- Free-throw shooting continues to be a major problem for this group as they only made 20 of their 37 attempts on the night.

- Bryan Davis must have felt like being a point guard on Saturday night - 4 points, 2 rebounds and a team-high 7 assists.

- Junior Elonu had his best all-around game of the year on Saturday - 10 points, 5 rebounds.

- Freshman guard B.J. Holmes also had a great day at the office - 9 points, 5 rebounds.

The Aggies have the next week off for finals and do not return to action until Sunday the 16th of December when they take on Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 1:00 PM. The game will be broadcast on FSN.

Once Again this season the Athletic Department is offering 1/2 price tickets to the next 5 men's home games as part of their "Half Price Holiday Hoops" promotion.

Tickets can be purchased for $12 for mezzanine seats, $10 for loge seats and $5 for general admission seats.

Dec. 16 – MBB vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 1 p.m.
Dec. 19 – MBB vs. Detroit at 7 p.m.
Dec. 22 – MBB vs. UC Irvine at 1 p.m.
Dec. 29 – MBB vs. Florida A&M at 1 p.m.
Dec. 31 – MBB vs. Rice at 1 p.m.

You can purchase tickets by following the proper links at this page:

Carry on.


At 12/10/2007 9:03 AM, Anonymous Beans said...

Wait, he got 18 guys into the game? Is he keeping up with the Gillespie school of 25 guys on the bench? That's awesome. I thought the excuse for him was some kind of drill they run with 7 on 7 so he had to have 28 available.

I'm fully in favor of taking the "old army" idea literally. They should form a wall around the team during timeout huddles. They should also take over Montana. There's more people on the bench than there are people in Montana.

There are going to be some pretty damn good freshman in the draft this year from what I've seen. The Arizona game featured two lottery picks in my mind.

At 12/10/2007 9:22 AM, Blogger Brandon said...

Any thoughts on how the Aggies responded to the full court against SWT? I thought they were exposed a bit although the disparity in talent level covered it up...


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