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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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5 takeaways from A&M’s win over Kansas State

Senior+Jalen+Jones+had+a+season+high+during+the+Kansas+State+game+when+he+personally+scored+25+points.
Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel

Senior Jalen Jones had a season high during the Kansas State game when he personally scored 25 points.

After a loss at Arizona State knocked them out of the Top 25, Texas A&M defended its home court with a 78-68 win over Kansas State. Here’s what the win Saturday means going forward.
1. Alex Caruso is the most underrated player in the country
The senior from College Station did it all on Saturday afternoon. He pitched in 13 points, including going 2-for-3 from long range, and achieved season highs in steals (6) and assists (9) in the game. With Anthony Collins in foul trouble, Caruso was the floor general for a majority of the game, and he performed the duties like a well-seasoned professional. His stats will not be flashy, and he will not be on the highlight reels every night, but he is a vital piece in the Aggie equation because of his variety of skills and experience. He is the player to watch with conference play just around the corner.
2. Closing out games is a big issue
On more than one occasion this year, A&M has failed to officially put a team away for good late in the game. On Saturday, it happened yet again. After garnering a 66-48 lead with less than six minutes to go in the second half, Kansas State took advantage of a sleep-walking A&M defense with a 13-1 run to pull within six at 67-61 with about two minutes to play. A&M’s stingy defense and clutch shooting down the stretch — thanks mainly to Alex Caruso — saved the day though, and A&M escaped with one at Reed. Conference games will not be as forgiving, so finishing when the opponent is already on their heels will be a key area of improvement moving forward.
3. Free throw shooting could be the Aggies Achilles Heel
Besides finishing out games, free throw shooting is the biggest struggle this team has to overcome. Last weekend, the Aggies were run out of the gym by Arizona State, and missed free throws were a part of that. Missed free throws allowed KSU to hang around Saturday and eventually make a run late in the game. A&M shot 68 percent from the line, and as a result left free points on the floor.
4. DJ Hogg needs to be more involved
The Aggies have a plethora of shooters on the team, but none of them have as smooth a stroke as Hogg. Last week, he was under-utilized and this week, it was more of the same. The freshman is shooting 42 percent from three-point range this year, and once he catches fire, it is a blaze that is hard to put out. Against KSU, he managed 5 points and was 1-for-2 from downtown in just 15 minutes of action. While small contributions help the overall cause, it would be nice to see him involved more in the offense. The only way to have him light up the scoreboard is to let him fire away, and the Aggies need to tailor ways to allow him to do it more often.
5. Jalen Jones is A&M’s best scorer
Jones just finds ways to score the basketball. He has an outside shot and post moves, and he can drive. The senior can really do whatever is asked of him. Saturday, he led all scorers with 25 points and pulled down 9 rebounds as well. Danuel House can put up a flurry of points quickly, but when talking about consistency, one has to immediately think of Jones. He scored over 20 points for the third time in his sixth game of the season Saturday. Look for him to get the ball more and more, especially as conference play gets started in a few weeks.

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