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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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Five takeaways from men’s basketball game against South Carolina

Mens+Basketball+vs.+South+Carolina
Photo by By Lawrence Smelser
Men’s Basketball vs. South Carolina

In the remaining seconds against South Carolina, the Texas A&M men’s basketball team had an opportunity to erase its two-game losing streak. Failure to do so brings the Aggies to a three-way tie for second place. Here are five takeaways from Saturday’s performance.

 

  1. The Aggies will have to win out if they want to be SEC Champions

 

After losing three consecutive games, another loss for A&M might be enough for the team to fall out of SEC title contention. The schedule does not get easier with two upcoming road games against Alabama and a resurging LSU. A win at LSU could vault A&M back into first, but dates with Kentucky and Vanderbilt still loom. Two teams trail the Aggies by a game, and three by a pair, so another loss could be brutal.

 

  1. Teams are figuring out Jalen Jones

 

The Aggies’ leading scorer registered four 20-point performances during a span of five games. However as of late, Jones has struggled. The last four games — where the Aggies are 1-3 — Jones has shot almost 26 percent. With his aggressive style, teams are playing much more conservative and doing all they can to prevent him from going to the penalty stripe. Jones tends to go straight at defenders, and with them setting their feet, the senior is drawing more offensive fouls. Jones has four or more fouls in three of the last four games, and two of those matchups he’s fouled out on a charge. If the Aggies can’t figure out how to beat this new way of defending, they have no chance at going deep in March.

 

  1. Defense is one of the roots of the problem

 

There is no question the Aggie defense has improved immensely this year. In defensive efficiency, a stat measuring the ratio of points per 100 possessions, A&M ranks 15th in the country. Billy Kennedy sometimes drops his defense into a half court 1-2-2 and then a 2-3 zone to manipulate the NCAA’s shorter 30-second shot clock. To counter, however, teams have found gaps in A&M’s perimeter defending, and the last two opponents combined for 25 three-pointers. As a result, this has caused the defensive efficiency to worsen.

 

  1. House gives you consistency, win or loss

 

Last season, four of A&M’s losses came when Danuel House failed to reach double-digits in scoring. Three other losses came when House was on the bench from injury at the end of the season. It’s a different story this season as the senior shooting guard hasn’t scored below 10 in a loss. In fact, he’s only recorded two single-digit performances on the year. Against South Carolina, House tied Alex Caruso for leading scorer with 16.

 

  1. A&M must return home with dominance

 

Heading into Saturday’s contest, the Aggies were undefeated at home. This included three of their four Big 12 wins, most notably over No. 13 Iowa State and No. 15 Baylor. With the final eight ahead, A&M has arguably its biggest games of the season in the friendly confines of Reed Arena. Ole Miss, No. 20 Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt remain. Three of those teams are right there with A&M in the standings. The squad that is not, Mississippi State, only fell to the Aggies 61-60 in a last-minute heartbreaker.

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