Saturday afternoon, the Aggies won a Big 12 opener for only the 2nd time in the history of the league when they defeated the Colorado Buffaloes by the final score of 86-69. After losing 11 straight conference openers, the Aggies have now won two straight openers in Big 12 play (K-State in ’07 and Colorado ’08).
Despite the win on Saturday afternoon at Reed Arena, the game was a tale of two sides of the court for Turgeon’s bunch. On the offensive end of the floor, the Aggies played about as well as you could have imagined. On the defensive end, they could not have been any worse.
Yes, the Aggies won by 17.
No, they did not play a lick of defense in the second half, and no, that is not supposed to make sense.
The Aggies put on a heck of an offensive show in front of a great crowd of 12,634. In the first half, the good-guys made 15 field goals and had 13 assists on those makes, a great indicator of an offense creating buckets in the flow of the game. Their offensive show in the 1st half also included one of the best dunks I have ever seen.
DeAndre Jordan went up with one hand and grabbed a rebound off of a three-point miss by Donald Sloan and killed it for a nasty put-back dunk. The highlight below does not give you an appreciation for how far and how high Jordan got on the play.
Sunday morning the dunk was even highlighted on SportsCenter’s top-10 plays at #2.
In-fact, of the 6 made Field Goals by Jordan, 4 of them were dunks. I guess that’s what you get when you have a dominating 7-footer in the college game. I will be curious to see whether or not he is able to continuously get to the rim with this level of ease as we work through the Big 12 schedule.
Anyhow, back to the game. What was funny about the first half was that Colorado came out in an active zone defense and the Aggies did one of two things, either found Jordan down low for a dunk or shot right over the top of it for a three.
Here is a look at the Aggies’ 15 field goals in the first half:
2-point FG Davis
2-point FG Davis
2-point FG Jones
Of those 15 makes, only 3 of them were not dunks by DeAndre Jordan or three pointers. It was pretty impressive to watch the offense work against that Colorado zone. Needless to say, Jeff Bzdelik came out in the second half and played primarily man-to-man defense (more on that later).
After Walkup’s second three from the corner, the Aggies had pushed the lead to 31-19 at the 7:39 mark of the 1st half and were well on their way to establishing complete control of the game.
Behind the strength of outscoring the Colorado bench 10-to-2 in the first half, the Aggies actually pushed their lead to 17 points on three different occasions before heading to the break ahead by 15 points at 42-27.
DeAndre Jordan (10 points, 7 rebounds in the 1st half) and Josh Carter (9 points, 3 assists in the 1st half) were setting the early pace for the Aggies as the game went to halftime.
As we mentioned above, the biggest change for the Buffaloes in the second half was that they basically scrapped the extended zone that they played for the better part of the first half. Coming out of the break, Bzdelik had his guys in mostly man-to-man sets.
The good guys barely skipped a beat in the 2nd half on the offensive end where they actually shot a better percentage in the 2nd frame (70.8%) than they did in the first (55.6%).
Where they started to break down on the defensive end was against Colorado’s “Princeton Offense” which gave the Aggies all kinds of fits. Colorado shot a ridiculous 77.3% in the 2nd half on 17-of-22 shooting and put up 26 points “in the paint” against A&M.
In fact, Turgeon was so disappointed in his guys’ effort on the defensive end in the 2nd half, he spent about half of the post-game press conference taking about it.
“That system is really hard to guard,” Turgeon said, “We couldn't guard the ball screen. We tried everything. We squeezed, doubled, showed, and switched. We probably had the most success with the switch. We tried everything. They are really hard to guard. To be quite honest with you, I was disappointed in our focus defensively. We didn't guard with the same intensity in the second half, we didn't guard screens the right way, which was the most disappointing thing. You have to give Colorado a lot of credit; their offense was really good today. Those players are good, I don't know if anybody has ever shot 77% in a half on us. They kept going smaller with their lineup and it made it harder on us. I don't like going small with our lineup. We have so many good big guys that are playing well right now. I'm disappointed in our defense. We never adjusted.”
OK Coach, thanks, I think that about sums it up, we appreciate your honesty.
Beau, what was that you were saying about Turgeon telling it like it is?
It’s just crazy when you think that a team shot 61% overall and 77% in the second half and the Aggies were still able to win by 17 points. Something about that just does not seem to add up.
From my vantage point the most frightening thing about what happened in the second half is that if you are not knocking down 63% of your shots including 10 makes from downtown, you are not only losing this game, you are getting blown out.
The one thing I am taking solace in is the fact that we have seen this group of guys play absolutely suffocating defense for the better part of this season, and I would suspect that what happened in the 2nd half on Saturday is just “one of those things” and we will likely not see them break down on the defensive end like that again for the remainder of the season.
The only thing that stood out to me on the offensive end in the 2nd half was that Dominique Kirk had a great half of basketball when he scored 10 of his game-high 15 points on 4-of-5 from the field. It was good to see DK break out after having only scored a combined 9 points in the Aggies’ previous 3 games.
The game was a heck of a way to start the 2008 Big 12 season for the Aggies, and they will try to keep it rolling as they head out on the road for three of their next four games (@ Tech / @ K-State / vs. Baylor / @ Ok. State).
I am a little nervous about this bunch heading into Lubbock coming off such a great shooting performance against Colorado while Tech is coming in off of getting blown out in Stillwater on Saturday. Chris Batchelder has a theory about teams that shoot the lights out. It goes something along the lines of, “they can never do it for two games in a row” - - Here’s to hoping his theory is wrong.
Coach Knight’s group runs offensive sets based with a ton of motion, similar to that of Colorado. Hopefully the Aggies can get their defensive issues squared away before they hop on a plane and head to the panhandle on Wednesday. I can assure you this much, Turgeon will have them back in the gym on Sunday working on their defense.
- Despite Coach harping on the guys about their defensive effort, I thought Kirk did a great job limiting Colorado’s Richard Roby to only 14 points. Doesn’t it seem like Roby has been in school for about 9 years?
- A&M is 15-1 for the first time since 1921-22, when the Aggies started 16-1.
- The good guys have won 36 of their last 37 home games (Tech last year).
- I’ve been on the guys because their free-throw shooting has been so poor, but on Saturday they did post a season high 86% when they made 12 of 14 attempts. It goes without saying; it was certainly good to see.
- The Aggies had 22 assists (2nd most this year) and only 7 turnovers (2nd fewest of the year).
- The Aggies’ 10 three-pointers were a season high in a game.
- Joe Jones had a career high 6 assists.
Hawks rookie guard both a brother and parent (Acie Law)
Sure-fire Aggies outgun Buffs
Kirk, Jordan lead No. 11 A&M past Colorado
Around the Big 12
Last Week’s Results
Sat., Feb. 12
Kansas 79 Texas 84 Kansas State 84
Nebraska 58 Missouri 97 Oklahoma 82
Texas Tech 55 Iowa State 67 Colorado 69
Oklahoma State 77 Baylor 74 Texas A&M 86
Aggie Hoops Report’s Big 12 Player of the Week
Michael Beasley – Kansas State
Freshman phenom Michael Beasley led Kansas State to a road win over Oklahoma on Saturday evening and in the process managed to put up 32 points and 11 rebounds. Beasley hit a game-winning layup with 2.3 seconds remaining to seal the deal for the Wildcats. This kid is a freak of nature, and you should make it a point to watch him play at some point this year.
Damion James - Texas
James put up 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Longhorns’ loss to Missouri on Saturday. James continues to get better with every passing game.
Blake Griffin – Oklahoma
It was a heck of a lot of fun watching Beasley and Griffin go head-to-head on Saturday evening as the two freshmen both put their skills on display. Griffin finished the game with 27 points and 14 rebounds.
Team Big 12 Overall
Kansas 1-0 16-0
Texas A&M 1-0 15-1
Baylor 1-0 13-2
Kansas State 1-0 11-4
Missouri 1-0 11-5
Oklahoma State 1-0 11-5
Texas 0-1 13-3
Nebraska 0-1 11-3
Oklahoma 0-1 12-4
Iowa State 0-1 10-6
Texas Tech 0-1 9-6
Colorado 0-1 8-7
Next Week’s Schedule
Mon., Jan. 14
Oklahoma at Kansas ESPN-HD 8:00 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 15
Oklahoma State at Baylor ESPN Plus 7:00 p.m.
Nebraska at Colorado ESPN Plus 8:00 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 16
Missouri at Iowa State ESPN Plus 7:00
Texas A&M at Texas Tech ESPN2-HD 8:30
Sat., Jan. 19
Oklahoma State at Iowa State ESPN Plus 12:30 p.m.
Texas Tech at Oklahoma ESPN Plus 3:00 p.m.
Texas A&M at Kansas State ESPN-HD 3:00 p.m. (GAME OF THE WEEK)
Baylor at Nebraska ESPN Plus 5:00 p.m.
Kansas at Missouri ESPN-U 7:00 p.m.
Colorado at Texas ESPN Plus 7:00 p.m.