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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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Aggies look to get back on track against No. 5 Kansas

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Photo by Photo by Abby Collida

Sophomore forward Robert Williams has contributed double digits to the Aggie’s in the last two games. 

After a dreadful loss against LSU on Tuesday, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team (13-7, 2-6 SEC) will take a break from league play and take on No. 5 Kansas (16-4, 6-2 SEC) on Saturday.
The Aggies enter the game after one of their worst performances of the season against LSU. A&M came into the game following a win against Mizzou in which they had just four turnovers. The Aggies gave the ball away four times in the first four minutes against the Tigers, and finished with a season-high 20.
The Aggies two starting guards, Admon Gilder and Duane WIlson, combined for just five points on (2-of-14) shooting. Poor shooting seemed to be the overlying theme for the Aggies as they finished the game shooting just 39 percent (26-of-66) from the field. Perhaps more alarming was the Aggies inability to convert from behind the arc. The Aggies shot just 21 percent (6-of-28) from deep and three-point specialist D.J. Hogg went 0-of-5.
The lone bright spot for the Aggies was their ability to pound the glass. Robert Williams notched 15 rebounds, and Tyler Davis added 12. The Aggies outrebounded the Tigers 50-30, enough for 31 second chance points, but not enough to come out on top, and the Tigers defeated the Aggies for the second time this season, 77-65.
The Aggies now move to a tougher test, playing No. 5 Kansas on the road. Kansas comes into the contest after a narrow loss to No. 12 Oklahoma, 85-80, which ended the Jayhawks five-game winning streak.
Kansas senior guard Devonte’ Graham is one of the top guards in the Big 12, however, posted one of his worst outings this season against the Sooners, converting just 4-of 19 of his shots from the field.
“Gilder can guard him, Jay Jay Chandler can guard him. He’s a good player, but really all we can do is stop his movement and his passing. He’s talented and playing as well as anyone in the country,” Kennedy said.
After tough outings against LSU, head coach Billy Kennedy says that he may include some lineup changes in Saturday’s game as Gilder and Wilson are still recovering from their knee injuries.
“It’s definitely possible [to see some lineup changes] because Admon and Duane aren’t 100 percent healthy,” Kennedy said. “They’re doing their best, they’ve been clear to play to where they won’t further hurt themselves but they aren’t playing at the level we need them to play at. When you can’t practice you can’t prepare yourself.”
Another adjustment that Kennedy said that we might see is the employment of the “Hack-A-Shaq” strategy in order to limit Kansas center Udoka Azubuike and put him on the free throw line. Azubuike is shooting 37 percent (11-of-29) from behind the charity stripe and went (1-of-7) against Oklahoma.
“It’s possible [we’ll use that strategy], we’ve got to have enough fouls and it’s got to be the right guy fouling him. He’s a good player and he’s really good one-on-one, so I’d rather see him at the line than down low,” Kennedy said.
A&M will combat Azubuike with two big men of their own in center Tyler Davis and forward Robert Williams. Davis, who was named Co-SEC player of the Week on Monday, has posted three straight double-doubles and Robert Williams enters the game after scoring 21 points and grabbing 15 rebounds against LSU. Williams also extended his game to outside the paint, and netted some jumpshots.
“Talk about confidence boost. It felt good to hit a couple jumpers [against LSU]. Teams are playing further back off of me now and I’ve just got to do my job and attack those opportunities,” Williams said.
A win against the Jayhawks would be a huge resume boost for the Aggies who currently are listed as one of the “Last Four Teams In” in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology. However, it will be very tough, as the game will be played at Allen Fieldhouse, in Kansas, which is known as one of the toughest places to play in college basketball.
“Just the whole environment and the energy is my biggest concern,” Kennedy said. “If we can handle the first 10 minutes, we’ll be in good shape.”
The game will be televised on ESPN and tipoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.

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