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.
- 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!