Texas A&M basketball (12-6, 1-5 SEC) survived the cold weather in College Station to pick up their first conference victory over Ole Miss.
Texas A&M basketball was desperate for a win on a chilly Tuesday night in College Station. After starting conference play with five consecutive losses the Aggies were in real danger of seeing their NCAA tournament chances slip away as well.
Ole Miss came to town without a road victory in conference play, but they still found a way to give the Aggies all they could handle in a back and forth game. Texas A&M led by as many as eight in a game that included nine ties and 10 lead changes.
Here are three takeaways from the Aggies’ first SEC win of the season over Ole Miss.
Back to the basics
Between Tyler Davis and Robert Williams the Aggies are going to have the size advantage inside against the vast majority of their opponents. For the first time in several weeks the Aggies stopped trying to overthink the offense and made attacking the paint a priority.
Williams finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. Davis had 20 points and 12 rebounds. All together Texas A&M outscored Ole Miss in the paint 46-32.
Outside presence needs to step up
The big men did their part but the outside shooting could not find the mark against the Rebels. Texas A&M shot 5-of-16 from three. The early excuse for this team’s struggles at the onset of conference play was the lack of the outside shooting presence of Admon Gilder and DJ Hogg. Both of those guys were on the court and combined to shoot 6-of-16 from the field and 2-8 from three.
For the most part they’re taking quality shots and getting the ball inside the flow of the offense. They’re just not connecting. If the Aggies can’t find a way to connect on open three pointers they’re going to struggle against teams that can score in bunches in March. Right now the one defense just seems to give this team a headache.
Make crunch time count
Texas A&M was run out of the gym in their SEC opener on the road against Alabama. Outside of that one all-around atrocious basketball game the Aggies have been within striking distance in the last few minutes of each of their SEC games. The Rebels and Aggies were deadlocked at 60 points apiece with five minutes to play. This time, Texas A&M found that extra gear and won the basketball game. A fortunate bounce couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Aggies get one more home game before hitting the road once more. They host Missouri, but not before the Tigers face Tennessee on Wednesday. Picking up one more win at home would be huge for the psyche of this team and the energy of the fanbase.