Texas A&M basketball had been plagued by a couple ailments in their losing streak, but have since bounced back and looked strong against Oregon State.
Billy Kennedy was hoping his Texas A&M basketball squad would take to his new offense quickly, but they struggled out of the gate and found themselves in the SEC cellar with a 1-4 record, with the one win coming against lowly Savannah State.
The offense was supposed to play to the Aggies’ strengths heading into this season. They lost all three of their front court starters from a team that went to the Sweet 16, but retained both starting guards and a key backup.
The message was simple: play faster and shoot more threes. It sounded good in theory. It proved tough to execute with Admon Gilder sidelined indefinitely and Wendell Mitchell dealing with an injury causing him to miss the first three games.
There were a few causes to the 1-4 start. Poor shooting from three and the free throw line, turnovers, and the inability to score late in close games when the game slowed down were all major issues for Texas A&M. The Aggies were never going to beat Gonzaga on the road, but they should have beaten UC Irvine at home had chances against Minnesota and Washington.
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Kennedy has had this problem for much of his time with A&M. He’s not inventive in the half court and his offense leaves a lot to be desired. The changes this offseason ignited some optimism in the fan base, to no avail.
A&M shot 15-for-63 (24 percent) from downtown and went 46-for-66 (70 percent) from the free throw line combined in those three losses mentioned above. They also had 29 assists to 37 turnovers and, as mentioned previously, had trouble scoring late. Really none of those things by themselves are going to get it done, much less struggling in all four aspects.
It’s difficult to take much stock in wins over South Alabama and Northwestern State, but we can take away some positives from the win in Portland over Oregon State. They shot 7-for-17 (41 percent) from three, 14-for-17 (82 percent) from the free throw line, had more assists than turnovers, and perhaps most crucially, stepped it up down the stretch.
They went on a 9-0 run in a two minute stretch to take an eight-point lead with just over three minutes left. Even though they would frustratingly only score two points the rest of the way, they turned it up on defense and held on for the win.
In a season that started so poorly, it’s difficult to see much positive. Aggie fans will take what we can get at this point.
The Ags take on Valparaiso this Wednesday at 7:30pm local time.