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

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

The Battalion

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Aggies unable to muster enough momentum to overcome Florida in 83-66 loss

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Freshmen guards Savion Flagg and Jay Jay Chandler played for a combined 23 minutes.

Florida seldom did things wrong en route to an 83-66 thrashing of No. 11 Texas A&M Tuesday night at Reed Arena.
Calling a timeout though may have been the best thing Florida head coach Mike White did.
In fact, doing it twice may have kept A&M from furthering a pair of fast runs in each half to keep the Aggies (11-3, 0-2 SEC) from striking distance of the Gators (10-4, 2-0 SEC).
Down 33-17 in the first half, A&M went on a 7-0 run to get within single digits of Florida with 6:42 to go. The Gators called timeout, regrouped, and proceeded to push their lead back to 17 thanks to an 11-3 run of their own.
Again, the Aggies cut the Florida lead to 10 in the second half, again the Gators called timeout. And again, Florida reclaimed the lush lead it once possessed, this time scoring 10-straight to make it 65-45 Gators with 11 minutes left in the game.
“We seemed to stymie both of those [runs] with decent defense,” White said. “I thought we hit some timely shots, too, to kind of quiet the place a bit … On the road, sometimes timely shots are as important as anything just to stop the momentum of the home team and our guys did that tonight.”
And while the Aggies controlled the paint and the glass, out-scoring the Gators 36-22 down low and out-rebounding them 39-29, the Gators said they executed their game plan: limit the production of A&M bigs Tyler Davis of Robert Williams with the Aggies playing without starting guards Admon Gilder and Duane Wilson due to injury.
“Scouting report was to not let them get inside and force them to make threes,” Keith Stone said. “We did a really good job paying attention to the scout and kept Tyler Davis and Robert Williams from getting going.”
On the other end, Florida’s ball movement allowed the Gators to fire at will from three, with 25 assists on 33 made field goals. For the game, the Gators were 17-of-28 from deep, led by Igor Koulechov and Keith Stone who scored 19 and 18, respectively. The two combined for 9-of-12 from three-point range.
“Igor Koulechov and Keith Stone are tough matchups for us,” A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said. “We had a hard time guarding the dribble. [Chris] Chiozza’s a special player. They played like a veteran team. Part of it was they hit some open threes that we had a hard time guarding, and the other part was that they shot the ball extremely well.”
Down three starters due to injury and suspension resulted in the Aggies starting three freshmen. Guard Jay Jay Chandler was hot offensively, scoring 17 points. The three together made a handful of rookie mistakes though, accounting for eight of the team’s 16 turnovers which the Gators transitioned into 16 points.
“That was huge in transition that they’re a veteran team,” Kennedy said. “We missed our experience that we didn’t have tonight.”
The opening minutes were a back-and-forth affair, with multiple lead changes and much ball movement, with eight total players scoring early on with the Gators holding a slim 13-11 lead at the 14:33 mark of the first half.
Florida though began to crank it up from deep, rolling on a run out to a 33-17 lead with 7:55 to go in the half, the Gators’ largest lead of the period.
“It’s big, especially on the road in a hostile environment, you want to get that confidence and make a couple of shots to feel more comfortable,” Koulechov said of Florida’s first-half success from three.
On the heels of consecutive 15-plus point losses, A&M returns to action this Saturday as the Aggies host LSU with tip-off slated for 1:15 p.m. in hopes of straightening things out in SEC play.
Forward D.J. Hogg will return from his three-game suspension. Kennedy said Gilder and Wilson are hopeful to play, but are still day-to-day as both recover from knee injuries.
“I expect them to be good,” Kennedy said of the three starters expected to return against LSU. “We need to make they’re healthy more than anything. D.J. Hogg’s been practicing with us and he’s fine, I think he’ll be ready to play and he accepts responsibility of the mistakes he made.”

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