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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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Eaten by the Tigers

Sophomore+TJ+Starks%26%23160%3Bmissed+all+five+of+his+three-point+attempts+against+Auburn.
Photo by Photo by Jesse Everett

Sophomore TJ Starks missed all five of his three-point attempts against Auburn.

The Texas A&M men’s basketball team might have put on a show for the Aggies in Reed Arena, but it was unable to come away with the win, falling 85-66 to the No. 14 Auburn Tigers on Wednesday.
A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said the Aggies’ early mistakes on defense and the number of missed shots made the difference.
“We got beat by a very good basketball team,” Kennedy said. “I thought that their defensive pressure and our inability to take care of the ball in the beginning of the game, it was critical. We did a poor job on the glass.”
With the loss, the Aggies move to a 7-8 overall record and add another loss in the SEC, making their conference record 1-3. Meanwhile, the Tigers keep their 2-1 conference record intact and move to 3-3 overall.
Sophomore guard Savion Flagg took control in the first half, proving to be the most successful offensive player with 13 points and three rebounds. Kennedy said Auburn did a good job of limiting sophomore guard TJ Starks’ shots because it changed the offensive pace A&M usually has, forcing Flagg to then step in as their offensive leader.
Turnovers have become a problem for A&M this season, and things were no different in this game. A&M committed 15 turnovers against the Tigers. Paired with the lack of defensive momentum, A&M was unable to lead Auburn at any point during the game. According to junior forward Josh Nebo, this was something the Aggies were aware of coming into the game.
“Against Auburn, you can’t have too many turnovers because they are a very good fast-breaking team that can get hot,” Nebo said before the game. “So we’ll have to limit our turnovers again.”
With a 32 percent three-point guarding rate, A&M has had success defending shots in the three-point range. But after allowing 13 three-point shots and only making seven in the game, the Aggies proved this statistic could change in any matchup.
Auburn’s senior guard Bryce Brown was responsible for five of the 13 three-point shots. Starting junior guard for the Aggies Wendell Mitchell said stopping Brown became the number one priority once he started getting comfortable on the three-point line.
“After he made his first two, you could tell his confidence was getting very high,” Mitchell said. “He started to just take ill-advised shots, just getting them up. But we’ve just got to find him, find guys like that and strengthen our transition obviously.”
Throughout the game, the Aggies used the Tigers’ aggressive defense to their advantage. This sent A&M to the free throw line and led to 21 points from fouls. Overall, A&M shot 70 percent from free throw range.
Kennedy said the game was a chance for A&M to face a team that had a different style of play than they were used to.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Auburn or their style of play,” Kennedy said. “Everything they do well, we don’t do well. So it was a tough matchup for us. They shoot … they control the ball very well, and they influence turnovers.’’
The Aggies will return to the court on Saturday to face Missouri at 2:30 p.m. in Reed Arena.

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