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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Hard lessons learned from costly mistakes

While most students were away for winter break, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team stuck around in Aggieland, rounding out its non-conference schedule and starting up league play.
After starting 7-2 with a pair of tight losses to high-end Pac-12 teams — UCLA and USC — the Aggies did not fare as well as they may have hoped in the past month, going 2-5 since the start of winter break.
A&M nearly completed a furious 22-point comeback over Arizona at the Toyota Center in Houston to tip-off the holiday season, but fell short 67-63. The close loss to the Wildcats marked the beginning of one area that has cost the Aggies mightily in the games since — turnovers.
For the season, A&M has averaged 14.3 turnovers per game (255th in Division I), including 18.9 in their past seven contests and 20.6 in conference play.
These mistakes have been a key factor in the Aggies 1-4 start in SEC play, which has seen highs and lows.
After responding to their loss to Arizona with a win over St. Francis to wrap up non-conference action, the Aggies started to take a tumble. A&M proceeded to drop its first three conference games, highlighted by a 42-point trouncing at Kentucky Jan. 3.
During the slide, a lineup change came with Chris Collins taking over the starting point guard role from JC Hampton who had started in the first 12 games of the season. Collins was challenged in his first start against Kentucky, but improved over the next few games and has started every game since the loss at Reed Arena.
The Aggies finally got back in the win column when they defeated LSU 92-62 on Jan. 11. The Aggies opened the game with a 17-3 lead and never looked back, turning on the jets in the second half scoring 49 points in the final 20 minutes, while shooting 69 percent for the half.
A&M’s turnover ratio increased in their last game against Mississippi State, giving the ball away 22 times in a frustrating 67-59 loss to the Bulldogs.
The Aggies’ tough times continued Tuesday night with a 62-60 loss to Arkansas. Now, sitting at 9-8 overall and 1-5 in SEC play, A&M’s hope to return to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season is beginning to firmly slip away
A&M returns to action Saturday when it hosts Georgia with tip-off slated for 11 a.m.
Alex Miller is a journalism freshman and sports reporter for The Battalion.

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