Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nebraska & Tech Recap

1st of all, let me please apologize to you guys for not getting a note out to you after Saturday’s debacle of a loss to Nebraska . I wish I had a decent excuse for you, but I just could not find an hour to sit down and put something together.

I don’t want to spend much time going back over the Nebraska game, especially in the light of what happened last night, but I do want to point a couple of things out.

The lack of effort and enthusiasm in that game was about as poor as you would have ever seen. Turgeon even admitted so in saying, “We weren’t very good in that game. It was probably our worst game of the year offensively and defensively. I don’t want to take anything away from Nebraska because they made plays, they made shots and they executed, but man we were just not very good,”

The best thing to come out of Saturday’s loss was the emergence of an angry Derrick Roland. D-Ro had one of the best games of his young career when he came off the bench to play 24 very productive minutes. Roland led the Aggies by scoring 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included making 3-of-5 from downtown.

OK – That’s enough about the Nebraska game, just know that Nebraska is awful and there is no excuse to have lost that game.

Alright – Let’s talk briefly about the Tech game last night. The 98-54 win was a great dose of needed medicine for everyone in and around the Aggie Basketball program.

I don’t think anyone in their wildest dreams would have thought that the Aggies would post their largest margin of victory ever over Tech and their largest margin of victory in a Big 12 game. They also matched their largest margin of victory in any conference game ever dating back to a 44 point win over Texas in 1959.

Coach Turgeon had an idea things would be better in saying, “I had a feeling we were going to play well today. We had our best practice of the year on Monday. It was fantastic. I knew we were going to play well but I didn’t expect this. We were really good.”

I agree coach, you guys were really good.

Dominique Kirk led the way for the 14 Aggies who saw action last night with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting with all 5 field goals coming from downtown. Big Freshman DeAndre Jordan returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday night and responded by grabbing 10 rebounds and adding 8 points.

Joseph Jones had 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field.

It is also worth pointing out that oft-used freshman guard Derrick Lewis ( Tulsa , OK - Union HS) made a rare appearance at the 13:53 mark of the first half. Lewis had only played 11 total minutes over 6 games on the entire season. Turgeon mentioned that Lewis had a great week of practice and decided to reward him with 17 meaningful minutes last night.

OK – There are a couple of things I want to point out to you guys with regards to Coach Turgeon.

First of all, Turgeon’s energy and enthusiasm was off the charts last night. I have only seen him that animated and that into the game one other time this season and that was in the Aggies’ 80-63 blowout win over Texas back on January 30th.

Turgeon’s energy carried over to not only the guys on the court but also the guys on the bench and the fans in the arena.

"I don't know how many times the refs had to tell our players to sit down," Turgeon said. "The refs said 'I'm going to give them a tech,' and I said 'give them one then,' so the players were having fun."

It was great to watch Turge run around for 40 minutes. I was glad to see him come out with that kind of passion and fire.

The second thing I want to point out to you guys is this statement from Turgeon after the game last night.

“I’ve been a wimp all year; I’ll be quite honest with you. I usually average about three or four or five technicals a year and I haven’t even been close to one. I can’t explain it. I felt like on Saturday I didn’t do my job. I felt very inadequate.”

Turgeon continued, “I just want the guys to know that I’m there. I don’t know if we know the real Mark Turgeon yet here. Hopefully I can do my job down the stretch. But I have to do better than what I was doing. I really got after the guys. I said some things that I didn’t want to say on Sunday night, things I don’t like to say. Evidently, they took it well. But if you’re going to say those things you’d better be ready to go with them.”

Turgeon has always talked from his heart, nearly to a fault at times, but I was glad to finally hear him talk last night about how he has not been himself. It was refreshing to hear him talk about how some of this was his fault. Something about step-1 being “admitting that you have a problem”? Either way, it was good to hear Coach step up and take some blame and admit that he too needed to change the way he has been going about handling this group of guys.

Well, I do not know who pushed the panic button after the Nebraska game, but I am glad that they did.

You have to take it one game at a time from here on out. Now that you put the Tech game behind you it is time to move on to Oklahoma on Saturday when the Aggies make their annual trip to Norman to take on the Sooners.

The loss to Nebraska put the Aggies' NCAA tournament hopes in serious jeopardy, but getting the ship pointed back in the right direction against Tech was a great first step.

In closing, I would like to leave you guys with this gem from Tech Coach Pat Knight,

“We didn’t compete from the tip till the end. I don’t even count the second half. The game was over at halftime. They just blew us out of the water…They scored 56 points at halftime. It was like watching an NBA game.”

That is funny stuff.

Hang in there guys, stay with this group of guys, maybe they will surprise us all.

Sorry for being a homer, it’s just who I am……

Carry on.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Texas Recap - II

What to say? Where to start?

Once again I am not sure that I am going to be able to use the proper words to convey anything to you guys to help swing your emotions one way or another. I also doubt that I am going to be able to make you feel any better about the direction of the 2007-2008 Aggie basketball team.

For two straight games the Aggies have simply been terrible. I do not know any other way to put it. They are playing extremely poor basketball on both ends of the court.

When you go back and look at the abysmal 2nd half against OSU and the even worse 1st half against Texas and combine them for 40 minutes of basketball, the Aggies went a combined 12 for 51 (23.5%) and scored a total of 36 points.

In the 1st half alone in Austin on Monday night the Aggies shot a dismal 19.4% from the field on 6-for-31 shooting.

Over the course of the full game, your two senior leaders Dominique Kirk and Joseph Jones combined to go 2-for-14 (14.3%). On the night, each guy individually went 1-for-7.

It was not just on those two guys however. Josh Carter was 3-for-11, Derrick Roland was 2-for-7, and DeAndre Jordan was 3-for-10. Not good.

Is there a more appropriate word than either ‘awful’ or ‘terrible’?

How about the team effort of 1-for-14 from the three point line on the night? 7.1%


What about the group going 11-for-23 from the free-throw line? FREE throws. 47.8%. It has been an issue all year and is clearly not a problem that is going away any time soon. Heck, DeAndre Jordan went 1-for-7 all by himself.

Seems like there were lots of 1-for-7’s buried in the boxscore last night.

Only one Aggie scored more than 8 points (Josh Carter with 11).

Can someone explain to me how the Aggies had 21 offensive rebounds and only 11 second chance points? That means the Aggies had 21 extra opportunities to extend a possession and only came away with 11 points? Ouch.

OK – I’m done throwing out the blinding numbers from Monday night. I think you guys get the point.
The bottom line is that UT came out and buried the Aggies early, and A&M is just simply not good enough to overcome that kind of deficit. A&M actually fell behind by 15 points early on and worked it all the way back to 10 when Kirk made a layup and got fouled to put the score at 13-23.

However, Kirk missed the ensuing free throw, Joe grabbed the offensive board but missed the putback, and before you knew it UT rattled off 10 straight to make it 13-33. The Aggies never got closer than 19 points the rest of the night.

If Joe had made the put-back to make it 15-23, would the outcome of the game have been that far different? I doubt it, but I sure would have liked to see what would have happened if so.

Something about “IF’s and BUT’s?”

Alright - I know a lot of you guys are asking “What does this all mean with regards to getting into the tournament?”

I still think the Aggies are a solid bet to make the field of 65 in a couple of weeks, but they certainly need to be careful over their final 5 games.

The Aggies are currently 6-5 in Big 12 play. Let’s take a look at their remaining schedule.

Opponent Likely Outcome Conference Record
vs. Nebraska Win (7-5)
at Oklahoma 50/50 (8-5 or 7-6)
vs. Tech Win ? (9-5 or 8-6)
at Baylor 50/50 (10-5 or 8-7)
vs. Kansas Loss (10-6 or 8-8)

I think that at 10-6 or 9-7 they will have done enough to get in. Barring a 1st round loss to Colorado or Nebraska in the Big 12 tournament, I think they will be just fine.

If they continue to sputter along here over the next two weeks and wind up 8-8, it may be time to start looking to the NIT.

The other thing you have to factor in is their overall performance in the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City. If they are 10-6/9-7 and win their first game in K.C., they will simply solidify their spot.

If they are 8-8, I think they will need to make the Big 12 Tournament finals in order to get into the big dance.

I just hope they do enough down the stretch to not have their games in K.C. make much of a difference.

OK, hopefully that will give you guys a little better feel for where they stand and a little better idea of the big picture.

To me, the most concerning thing is that mid to late February is when you really want to see your team rounding into shape, starting to click and beginning to fire on all cylinders. It is pretty clear that as we sit here today that this group of guys is a long way away from maximizing their full potential.

Can that change over the next 5 games? Absolutely!

If they take the long week of practice this week, work on what is broken, and somehow rattle off 4 in a row heading into the Kansas game will we all be singing a different song? Absolutely!

My point is that it is not too late to get the ship pointed in the right direction, but man alive they are certainly running out of time quickly. The change needs to be drastic and immediate.

I hope Turgeon had them back in the gym at 6:00 am on Tuesday morning working on their high-ball-screen defense. Their rotations and their lack of help defense against both OSU and Texas were about as bad as you will ever see.

We will try to have a SureToBeWrongScorePrediction out to you guys on Friday before the Aggies’ game against Nebraska.

I am sorry for the negative tone of this note. I try to pump as much sunshine as I can, but it is awfully tough right now with the way this team is playing.

I would also be remiss if I did not give Jerry Bluhm a little credit for sending the best text message of the night. It simply read, “Is this the WNBA?”


Hope everyone has a great week.

Carry on.

Monday, February 18, 2008

OSU Recap II



That was not a whole lot of fun.

On Saturday afternoon the Aggies dropped their second home game of the season when they lost 54-59 to the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

The loss ended an otherwise great day at Reed Arena as Acie Law became the first player in the history of the school to have his number retired and hung from the rafters. “Acie Law Day” brought out the biggest crowd to ever watch a game at Reed Arena, but the 13,584 rowdy fans in attendance were sent home disappointed.

The Aggies were more-or-less terrible in the second half of the game when they were only able to put up 18 points on 6-of-20 (30%) shooting. The 18 points was their second lowest one-half total of the year right behind the 17 points they scored in the first half of their abysmal trip to Lubbock back on January 16th.

On Saturday afternoon the Aggies also really struggled from downtown as they only made 4 of their 14 attempts on the game (28.6%) and even more so in the 2nd half as they went 1-for-8 (12.5%).

Come to think of it, there was a lot of really disappointing things that came out of the game on Saturday afternoon.
The win for OSU was Sean Sutton’s first true road win as the Cowboys’ head coach, and it broke a 19 game road losing streak for OSU. They had also lost 16 consecutive Big 12 road games.

A&M’s starting frontcourt only accounted for 5 rebounds in the game (3 for Jones and 2 for Davis). The Aggies were outrebounded 27-32 on the game and also lost numerous opportunities to grab loose balls.

“We couldn’t get a rebound. They had the hustle plays and got the 50/50 balls. We didn’t. That’s inexcusable. Give them credit. They were really good.” Turgeon said, “They were loose. They played well and we just could never get it going in the second half. We couldn’t put together enough stops and rebounds or control their penetration. It’s disappointing.”

Losing a few games from time-to-time is no big deal, but when you lose them at home and primarily because you simply got out-hustled makes it sting even worse.

Well, I could go on, but in the interest of time we will cut it short right there.

Byron Eaton led the Cowboys with 17 points and 5 assists. The Aggies’ failure to properly defend Eaton’s penetration to the paint coming off of the high ball screen was a primary reason they let OSU escape with a win.

The Aggies were lead by DeAndre Jordan’s 15 points off the bench. Jordan had a very effective day at the office in going 7-for-9 from the field. Joe Jones also chipped in with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

Carter, Davis, Roland, Kirk and Sloan combined to go a frustrating 8-for-30 (26.6%) in the game. The Aggies are good enough to overcome a night at the gym when two or three guys are having off nights, but not very many teams can overcome a 26% shooting performance from 5 major contributors.

Alright, now I’m done. Let’s move on.

The good news is that the Aggies have a MAJOR chance at immediate redemption tonight when they travel to Austin for their annual visit to the Big Drum.

The bad news is that since getting trashed by A&M at Reed Arena on January 30th the Longhorns have been on a roll winning 5 straight games. Over the course of the winning streak, the ‘Horns have survived on the road against ISU and Baylor. That being said, they also put together a pretty good 40 minutes last Monday (also an ESPN Big Monday game) when they handed Kansas their 2nd loss of the season by a final score of 72-69.

Texas will go to battle with the usual suspects tonight and are still led by the dynamic front-court duo of AJ Abrams and DJ Augustin. Personally, I think that tonight’s game will be decided by the play of Texas big-man (and should-have-been-an-Aggie) Damion James.

James is averaging 13 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. In the UT loss at Reed Arena, the Aggies limited James to only 4 points on 1-of-6 shooting. If James goes off tonight it will be pretty tough for the Aggies to come out on the right side of the game.

Texas is awfully tough at home and has only lost once this season, a 66-67 loss to Wisconsin. The Aggies’ last win in Austin came in the 2001-2002 season and neither team has won on the other’s home court since the beginning of the 2004-2005 season.

The Aggies are 3-2 in Big 12 play this year, and have won three straight on the road. A&M has won 12 of their last 16 Big 12 road games overall.

I will be curious to see how the good guys respond after Saturday’s loss, but I am not optimistic. I guess I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

The Aggies and Longhorns hook up tonight on ESPN’s Big Monday at 8:00.

The Aggie Hoops Report’s Sure-To-Be-Wrong Final Score Prediction:

Texas A&M 71
Texas 86

Friday, February 15, 2008

OSU Prediction (Sure To Be Wrong)

Here is my sure-to-be-wrong score prediction:

Oklahoma State 62
Texas A&M 74

I think the game will not be as close as the final score will indicate. I think that A&M will come out a little bit stiff from their week off and may have a bit of a look-ahead factor with Monday's big game at Texas looming on the horizon. Vegas has the Aggies as 13 point favorites.
The game is at 2:30 on ABC and here is a copy of the coverage map:

Here are the Big 12 lines for this weekend's games:

Baylor -1

Texas Tech -2.5

Kansas State -9

Kansas -25

Iowa State -2

I hope you guys all have a good weekend.

Carry on.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Missouri Recap

Saturday afternoon, the Aggies won their second straight road game against a Big 12 north opponent, and in doing so ran their winning streak to 5 games.

In a manor that was quite similar to their dominating performance in Ames 4 days earlier, the Aggies used a huge run right after halftime to put the game away.

The Aggies are easily playing their best basketball of the season right now, and I have mixed emotions as they head into their bye-week this week. You hate to stop the momentum that they have behind them right now, but then again, this is a heck of a time to get some rest and heal up a few nagging injuries.

Hey Joey – Is your Turgeon “crow” as good as mine is? Are you glad we gave him the chance he asked us to give both him and his team?

"We won’t go long, but we’ll work four days this week and fine-tune some things," Turgeon said. "We’ve got a couple guys that are banged up and need to get healthy. They had (Monday) off, and we’ll have Wednesday off, and we won’t go as long, especially early in the week and just try to stay sharp. I’m not used to this, having a whole week off, but I kind of like it."

OK – Let’s take a quick look back at the Mizzou game.

Neither team came out with much energy, and buckets were tough to come by early on. Missouri however came out ice cold and could not buy a bucket in the early going.
The Aggies held the Tigers to only one field goal over the first 5+ minutes of the game while clinging to a very unattractive 6-2 lead.

Turgeon, looking for a spark, turned to BJ Holmes and Derrick Roland off the bench. The two young guys gave him what he was looking for as the Aggies pushed their early lead to 14-7 at the 11:42 mark before letting Missouri take over the remainder of the first half.

Missouri closed out the first half on a 23 to 11 run which included one stretch of 10 straight points for Mike Anderson’s group.

With the crowd back in the game, it looked as if A&M was going to be in trouble as they headed into the break.

Leading the way for the Aggies in the first half was Bryan Davis who had 7 points and 7 rebounds. The only other thing that stood out for the Aggies in the first half was that they could not buy a bucket from the outside as they only made one of their 10 three point attempts (Carter).

For the second game in a row, I do not know what Turge did at halftime, but man alive the Aggies were a different bunch coming out of the break.

It sounded like he may have wound his guys up a little too much. “I told the team at halftime, ‘If I’ve made you scared of their press and I’ve got us walking on egg shells and not being aggressive, I apologize,’ “ Turgeon said, “We were really tentative that whole first half.”

It seemed like it only took about 30 seconds when in all actuality it was just over 5 minutes, but the Aggies went on a furious 15-0 run that quickly turned their 5 point halftime deficit into a commanding 40-30 lead.

Not only did the run put the Aggies in control of the game, it also seemed to break the spirit of both the Missouri team and the raucous crowd of nearly 13,000 people inside Mizzou Arena.

Not being fully satisfied and continuing to press down on the gas pedal, the Aggies actually turned in a 32-9 run to open the second half and were up by as many as 18 points with just under 7 minutes left to play.

One of the biggest reasons the Aggies were able to pull away from the Tigers in the 2nd half was the fact that Missouri did not get their first offensive rebound of the game until there were only 5 minutes left in the game.

Not giving Missouri any second chance opportunities was huge, but even bigger was the fact that A&M was simply outstanding from the free-throw line in the second half (read that part again…..) in making 21 of their 26 attempts (80.8%).

Donald Sloan also had the best half of basketball of his young career in the 2nd half. Sloan put up 19 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Yes, this is the same Donald Sloan that went 6-for-20 from the free-throw line over a 4 game stretch to open Big 12 play. In his last three games Sloan is 15-of-16 from the line.

Brandon, something about a behavior change?

The other crazy thing about Sloan’s night in the gym was that 9 of his career-high 21 points came in the last 72 seconds of the game.

Despite a furious rally from the Tigers (21 points in the final 3 minutes of the game), the Aggies held on for a closer-than-it-should-have been 77-69 win.

The Aggies are on quite a roll right now and have really turned things around after their three-game skid earlier in Big 12 play. They have 7 games left in Big 12 play and are currently in 4th place - only a game and a half out of the lead.

Quick Hits

- The Aggies outrebounded the Tigers by a whopping 42-to-25 margin.

- Bryan Davis recorded his second career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

- Derrick Roland played great off the bench in 23 minutes of action.

- Leo Lyons led Missouri off the bench with 24 points.

- The Missouri bench outscored the Aggie bench 43-to-16.

Looking Ahead – Oklahoma State

The Aggies host OSU on Saturday at Reed Arena (2:30 - ABC Regional) in what should be a very special day for the Aggie Basketball program.
At halftime on Saturday the Aggies will put a jersey in the rafters for the first time in school history when they honor Acie Law.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Acie,” Turgeon said. “You can argue that no four-year player has ever had a bigger impact on the basketball program and the university. Acie helped the program become respected in the state of Texas and on a national level. Most importantly, he is a great young man who always represented Texas A&M well. He left here with his degree and always did things with great class. His ability to come up in the clutch gave our program national visibility. We are able to recruit anywhere in the country because of the impact Acie had on this basketball program.”

It should also be noted that they are not retiring Acie’s number, but that they are retiring his jersey. What this means is that Acie’s jersey will hang in the rafters, but that if someone wants to (or has the audacity to) wear #1 at Texas A&M again they certainly can, but as Turgeon put it “….they better have some guts.”

The Cowboys are coming into Reed arena after ripping Baylor in Stillwater on Wednesday night by a final score of 93-83. Byron Eaton led the Cowboys with a strong 25 point performance.

The Aggies should be a decent favorite on Saturday, but this thing reeks of a trap game. Coming off of their bye week I hope Turgeon does not let his guys look ahead to Monday (their annual visit to Austin) and has them focused on taking on the Cowboys.

I’m not ready to put out my inevitably wrong score guess just yet, I’ll drop you guys a note on Friday.

I hope everyone has a good rest of the week and that you enjoy the long weekend coming up!

Carry on.

Antoine Wright Traded

Former Texas A&M swingman Antoine Wright has been traded from the New Jersey Nets to the Dallas Mavericks.

"ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reports that the Nets and the Mavs are likewise poised to complete a separate trade that will send swingman Wright to Dallas for a future second-round pick. "
Also, I will have a recap of Saturday's win over Missouri out to you guys tonight.


Friday, February 08, 2008

OU & ISU Recap / Mizzou Preview

Hey guys – sorry it has taken me so long to put this note together. Better late than never I guess.

Today we’ll take a look back at Saturday’s slug-fest between the Aggies and the Oklahoma Sooners, as well as take a quick look back at their first convincing road win of the season in Ames against Iowa State on Tuesday night.

We’ll also take a quick look at Saturday’s game at Missouri.

Oklahoma Recap

On Saturday afternoon at Reed Arena, the Aggies and Sooners hooked up in what can only be described as a brutal, ugly battle that lasted nearly 40 minutes. The two teams both looked pretty out of sync, and there were plenty of errors and missed shots to go around.

The game quickly took on a “first one to 50 wins” feel to it as neither team could get going in the first half.

Over the first 8 minutes of the game the Aggies had a stuck-in-the-sand 11-to-8 lead. The scoreboard would stay stuck on 11-8 over the next three minutes as neither team could find a way to put any points on the board. Six missed baskets and two turnovers later the Sooners finally broke the drought when Longar Longar put the biscuit in the basket to pull the Sooners back to within one.

By the time the first half came to an end, the Sooners were heading to the break ahead by six at 23-29. The only reason the Aggies were not down by more than six was that they happened to make 7 of their 10 free throw attempts in the first half. They also had their worst shooting half of the season when they only made 7 of their 26 attempts (26.9%).

The Aggies appeared to be suffering from a bit of a UT hangover in the first half as they lacked any real passion or fire and sort of seemed to be sleepwalking through the first frame.

Coming out of the break Turgeon clearly got their attention as the Aggies went on a quick 14-to-4 run to seize control of the game and turned the 6 point halftime deficit into a 4 point lead at 37-33.

Everyone watching the game knew that Oklahoma was not going away quietly and that the game was far from over. Sure enough, OU came back with a little run of their own and actually held a small lead for nearly a 10 minute stretch in the middle of the second half.

Late in the game, OU’s interior guys began to get into foul trouble with Taylor Griffin and Longar Longar both fouling out, and the Aggies were finally able to put the Sooners away.

Over the final 3:23 of the game the Aggies actually went on a closing 10-to-1 run to put the final score at 60-52. The late run was sparked by the brute force of Bryan Davis and a couple of great hustle plays from Donald Sloan.

Bryan Davis was simply outstanding down the stretch, and the big guy made a handful of hard-nosed plays that helped seal the deal for the Aggies. The biggest highlight play for Davis came when the Aggies were nursing a precarious 3 point lead with 21 seconds left to play. As the shot-clock ticked below 2 seconds, big #0 grabbed a loose ball on the baseline, put the ball up, made a layup, drew a foul and made his free throw.

The play basically sealed the deal for the Aggies and sent the 13,158 fans home happy.

I can not express to you guys enough how good Bryan Davis played down the stretch. He was involved in a handful of critical loose ball and hustle plays, all of which he seemed to win.

Joe Jones led the Aggies with 18 points and 6 rebounds behind the strength of 7-for-10 shooting from the free throw line. Bryan Davis finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds while Sloan added 10. Rounding out the highlights for the Aggies was Dominique Kirk who had 9 points, 4 assists and 0 turnovers.

Other interesting notes from the OU game:

- A&M has beaten Oklahoma three straight times after OU won the previous 14 meetings.
- A&M had a season-high 9 steals.
- The Aggies had only one turnover versus 6 assists in the second half.
- A&M made 23-of-30 (76.7%) from the free throw line, the best percentage of the season when the team had at least 15 attempts.

Iowa State Recap

OK – Let’s now take a quick look back at the Iowa State game from Tuesday night.

The Aggies traveled to the freezing cold plains of the midwest and came away with their most resounding road win of the season when they dismantled Iowa State by a final score of 69-51.

Outside of some early drama, the game itself was not terribly entertaining, but it was nice to just have a “cruise control” game on the road, that is for sure.

A&M jumped out to two different early 7 point leads before Iowa State made a nice rally, and behind the strength of a 10-0 run, the Cyclones actually took a 3 point lead at 22-19 with just under 5 minutes to play in the first half.

It was from that point that the Aggies absolutely took control of the game.

The Aggies closed the game on an 11-2 run capped by a DeAndre Jordan dunk that sent the Aggies to the locker room with a 30-24 lead and a good dose of some much needed momentum on the road.

As the Aggies came out of the break, the momentum carried over to the second half as they were absolutely blazing hot. The good guys hit 11 of their first 14 shots in the second half and capped off a 31-9 run to put the game out of reach at 50-31 with just under 13 minutes to go.

The 31-9 run included the 11-2 run that the Aggies used to close out the first half.

The two guys that were key to the big run for the Aggies were Bryan Davis and Josh Carter. Over the first 8 minutes of the 2nd half, Davis had 10 points while Carter knocked down a pair of big 3 pointers.

For the 2nd game in a row, I can not stress to you guys enough how important Bryan Davis has become for this basketball team.

Davis led the Aggies on Tuesday night in points (16), rebounds (7), blocks (2) and steals (3).

Oh yeah, his 16 points also came on 8-of-11 shooting (72.7%).

Since being inserted into the starting lineup after the Tech debacle, Bryan Davis has absolutely been the reason the Aggies are playing so much better on their current 4 game winning streak.

Over his last 5 games Davis is averaging 14.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while shooting an absurd 70.7% from the floor in making 29 of his last 41 attempts.

Not bad for a guy that most people outside of those that follow A&M could not pick out of a crowd of one. If Davis has another big game on Saturday at Missouri, I would not be surprised to see him as a candidate for the Big 12 player of the week award.

I also think we should point out two things that Coach Turgeon has done to really help get this team back on the right track. (If I am going to be critical when it’s bad I should be positive when it’s good.)

1.) Bringing Bryan Davis into the fold. I do not think anyone thought the big forward from Grand Prairie would be putting forth the production he has been showing on a nightly basis since being inserted into the starting lineup for DeAndre Jordan .
2.) Reducing the complexity of the offense. Turgeon has stripped the offense back to basics using an effective dose of high pick-and-roll ball screens, baseline off-ball screens and re-establishing the high-low game with his big men on the inside.

Since the three game slide against Tech, K-State and Baylor, the Aggies and Turgeon seem to be getting better and better with each game. I think part of what we have seen so far this season is a bit of a roller coaster ride with a new coach growing into the roster he inherited and a group of guys growing into a new coach and a new system. I am cautiously optimistic that the team and the coaches are finally getting on the same page, and I am hopeful that we will see a nice finishing kick over these last 8 games.

Missouri Preview

The Aggies will try to keep the ball rolling against Missouri on Saturday afternoon in Columbia . The game tips off at 12:45 and will be carried on ESPN+. A complete list of stations carrying the game can be found here:

Missouri is a bit of a tough team to figure out.

They have Big 12 wins over conference powers Texas and Kansas State, but they also have losses to Iowa State and Nebraska .

Their roster has also been decimated by a rash of suspensions that came about after a big group of players got into a nasty fight at a night club.

The fight put team leader Stefhon Hannah in intensive care with a broken jaw and needless to say, he is likely done for the season. Starting point guard Jason Horton was also suspended, and he was formally arrested last Friday on the 1st of February.

Leo Lyons, Marshall Brown and Darryl Butterfield were also suspended. All have since returned to action, but it was not enough as Missouri still lost 71-90 to Kansas on Monday night.

As Mike Anderson’s team heads into the game vs. A&M he will have nearly a full complement of players at his disposal, as the only guy scheduled to miss the game is Hannah.

Missouri is always tough at Mizzou Arena, and they are actually 2-1 this season when playing ranked teams on Norm Stewart Court .

Missouri is 11-2 at home this year, and in 10 of those 11 wins they have won by 10 or more points including 6 wins of 30+.

I think you get the idea by now. Yes, the Aggies are going to have their hands full on Saturday afternoon.

Guys to keep an eye on for Missouri include:

DeMarre Carroll 6’8” Junior Forward 13.7 points / 7.4 rebounds

Leo Lyons 6’9” Junior Forward 11.8 points / 4.2 rebounds

Keon Lawwrence 6’2” Sophomore Guard 10.5 points / 3.7 rebounds

J.T. Tiller 6’3” Sophomore Guard 6.9 points / 2.5 assists

Vegas has the Aggies as 1.5 point favorites tomorrow.

I actually think the Aggies drop a close game in entertaining fashion. Mizzou Arena is just such a hard place to win and I can not help but think that the Aggies are due for a bit of a letdown.

The Aggie Hoops Report’s Final Score Prediction:

Texas A&M Aggies 77
Missouri Tigers 78

Saturday, February 02, 2008

UT Rewind / Oklahoma Preview

Well, I do not think that any of us could have imagined what we saw at Reed arena on Wednesday night.

The Aggies did not come out and simply beat their rivals from Austin; they absolutely throttled them for 40 wild minutes at Reed Arena. A record crowd of 13,555 helped cheer on the good guys and made it an absolutely miserable night for Rick Barnes’ squad.

Behind the strength of two early Josh Carter three-pointers (welcome back kid!), the Aggies surged out to a resounding 19-to-3 lead over the first 6 minutes of the game.

With the crowd roaring on every single possession, the Aggies continued to build steam and actually pushed their lead all the way to 21 points and were ahead 31-10 after two free-throws by Bryan Davis at the 8:30 mark of the first period.

Everyone knew that it was not going to be easy all night long, and sure enough the Horns made a quick 11-0 run to cut the Aggies’ lead all the way back to 10 points at 31-21.

Behind a Turgeon timeout and a pair of dunks by Bryan Davis and DeAndre Jordan, the Aggies quickly swept aside the Texas run and finished out the half on a 15-7 run of their own pushing their lead back to 18 points.

The good guys headed to the locker room ahead 46-28 with a ton of momentum behind them.

One of the highlights of the first half was when BJ Holmes let a half-court shot fly as the halftime buzzer sounded. As the ball was in the air, Coach Turgeon kind of did a little crow-hop move all the way out to between the top of the key and the half court circle trying to encourage the ball into the rim.

As the ball missed and clanked off the rim, Turgeon was throwing his arms in the air encouraging both his team and the crowd as they sprinted to the locker room.

Turgeon was as animated and as into that game on Wednesday night as I have seen him all year long. I can not help but think that the guys were feeding off of his energy and enthusiasm on the sideline.

Coming out of the break, the two teams traded baskets as the A&M lead hovered between 14 and 17 points before Texas was able chip away to push it back to 11 points on three different occasions before the Aggies were finally able to put the Horns away.

A&M pushed their lead all the way to 22 points at 80-58 before Texas scored the final 5 points of the game to make the final score 80-63.

The Aggies were led by Josh Carter who had his 2nd double-double of the season when he scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Carter knocked down 4 of his 7 attempts behind the three point line, and as we discussed last week, Carter is absolutely a catalyst for this team.

As goes Carter, so go the Aggies.

In the 4 losses this season Carter is shooting 28.6% from downtown, and in the Aggies’ 17 wins carter is shooting 41.4%.

Joe Jones and Dominique Kirk also had solid games scoring 14 points each.

Finally, DeAndre Jordan finally came out and played with a chip on his shoulder again and responded nicely in his first Lone Star Showdown game scoring 10 points and pulling down 5 rebounds.

I’ve been tough on Turgeon over the last few games, but I will tell you this much, Coach was simply outstanding on Wednesday night. I thought his rotations were better. I thought his in-game management was better.

It was very clear that his guys had spent a lot of time working on setting the high picks on the offensive end. It was also evident that they were working with their big guys on defending the perimeter.

The A&M big guys did a much better job stepping around the Texas picks and they were getting low and wide forcing the UT guards to make wider turns and helping to keep them both off-balance and out of the lane.

Only a couple of things really stood out from the boxscore:

- Texas only shot 34% from the field and 52% from the free throw line on the night.

- The offensive rebound statistic was quite odd. Texas grabbed 21 offensive rebounds vs. only 9 for the Aggies. Even stranger, UT only had 18 second chance points vs. 15 for the Aggies.

- The Aggies did a great job on the Texas guard duo of DJ Augustin and AJ Abrams. Abrams was held to single-digit points for only the second time in his last 12 games, and Augustin’s 14 points were his lowest point total in his last 17 games.

Brandon Whittle, a good friend of the AHR, commented before the game that win-or-lose he simply wanted to see a behavior change. I think the response I got from Brandon was something along the lines of, “This is the fundamental shift we discussed…..”

I do not know where the A&M team we saw on Wednesday night has been hiding, but it was great to see them come out and play that well, even if only for one night.

Is Texas A&M as good as they looked on Wednesday night? No. Is Texas as bad as they looked on Wednesday night? No. It was just one of those fun nights when everything clicked. Those types of nights at the gym do not happen very often, but it is great when they do and even better when it is against your archrival!!!

Here is one final note from the Texas game that I thought you guys might enjoy.

Seniors Dominique Kirk and Joseph Jones never lost to Texas at Reed Arena, winning all four games. It is also worth pointing out that Texas was ranked every year, including three times in the top 10.

My, my - - how times have changed!!!!!

Oklahoma Preview

Ok – looking ahead to the Oklahoma game this afternoon.

Now I am really curious to see which Aggie team is going to show up. Is their joy again in Aggieland and the Aggies are back? Was the Texas game a one time anomaly? Are things fixed with this year’s squad and this is what we should expect to see going forward?

I do not know if we will have any of these definitive answers for a couple more weeks, but we will sure get our first glimpse this afternoon into what may lay ahead for the remainder of the season.

Oklahoma comes into Reed this afternoon (ESPN-Plus 3:00 CST) riding a 3 game winning streak. The Sooners have been off for most of the week following their 64-61 win over Oklahoma State Monday night in Norman.

Oklahoma is led by 6’10” super-freshman Blake Griffin who is averaging 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The primary outside threat for Jeff Capel’s squad is 6’6” Tony Crocker who averages 11.3 points per game and knocks down 47 percent from three-point range.

I think the Aggies should be able to have plenty of success inside against Griffin and 6’ 11” senior Longar Longar. I would look for Turgeon to try and attack the Sooners in the paint for most of the afternoon.

The Aggie Hoops Report’s Final Score Prediction:

Oklahoma 61
Texas A&M 68