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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Keeping the momentum

Photo by Photo by Kevin Chou

Junior Point Guard Admon Gilder attempts to score.

Riding the momentum gained last Saturday after defeating South Carolina at home, Texas A&M looks to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive as they travel to take on No. 8 Auburn.
The Aggies are owners of an abysmal 1-5 road record this season — four of those losses came from conference play and the other was a road loss to Kansas. A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said the team’s inconsistency has been a major factor in their demise.
“We haven’t had consistent practices, consistent play,” Kennedy said.
However, in the last two games, the Aggies have shown a glimmer of excellence that is keeping their dreams of making it at least into the tournament alive. Kennedy also said A&M has had success in the past against Auburn on the road and hopes to replicate it come Wednesday night.
“We’re playing better as a team, we’ve played well there before,” Kennedy said. “[Hopefully] we can go in there and understand the magnitude of the game and play well again.”
But with his team’s lack of reliability, Kennedy said he isn’t fully able to know what to expect at Auburn.
“I wish I could tell you I knew what I was going to get from this team,” Kennedy said. “We haven’t been consistent enough for me to feel that well.”
With junior guard Admon Gilder returned to the starting line up, the Aggies have shown improvement on both sides of the ball. In the Aggies’ meeting with South Carolina, Gilder was 5-for-8 from field goal range and had 15 points of the night, contributing with a 16-point run early in the game.
Gilder said although there has been an increase in success, he doesn’t believe his return is the only reason why.
“I think we got the entire team back and so we’re together,” Gilder said. “Practicing more with everybody, feeling more comfortable and just getting back into the groove of where we were in October.”
With the team dynamic being restored, Kennedy said he hopes his team can work on two crucial parts of their game.
“Key thing is getting back in transition and taking care of the ball,” Kennedy said. “Two things that we haven’t done consistently on the road. That’s why we’re in the situation we’re in.”
Heading into Wednesday’s matchup with the Tigers, Gilder said the team is going to have to use their size and athleticism to defend one of the best teams in the country and the No. 1 team in the SEC.
“Now we’re just going to have to use our length and matchup for shooting in the area,” Gilder said. “We have length, therefore we’re going to have to be able to slow them down a bit and focus on where their shooters are. They have many shooters, one through five, so play hard defense and buy into what we’re trying to do.”
One of the Tigers’ lead scorers is junior guard Brice Brown, who averages 17 points a game and 3.5 three-pointers a game. Gilder said Brown has been one of the major focal points of his approach heading into this game.
“I’m looking forward to [guarding Brice Brown], not just me but the whole team,” Gilder said. “We have our game plan here today, [which is to] stop the three point shooting, of course their transition ’cause they’re a dynamic transition team. We just got to know the offensive rebound.”
Kennedy said Brown isn’t the Tigers’ only problem as they prepare defensively for Auburn. Kennedy said Auburn’s roster is filled with great shooters like Mustapha Heron and Jared Harper, who average 15.6 and 12.9 points per game respectively.
“Brown is such a great scorer. Kennedy said right now he’s shooting the ball at a high level.” “Then you got three guys that in the last game score [combined] 68 points. It’s a tough call on them. All three of them are weapons.”
The Aggies will return to Aggieland to host Kentucky on Saturday, much making Wednesday’s matchup that’s much more important for the Aggies if they hope to still be playing come late March. Gilder said he and the rest of the team look forward to potentially upsetting Auburn before returning home to defend Reed Arena.
“I think this is a big test … I think that we need every win we can get right now,” Gilder said. “We’ve been doing a great job of winning at home, so now we’ve got to go on the road and go get one that we know is going to be very key for us in March. We go in there and get a key win that we need and come back and protect our house against a very well known opponent [in] Kentucky.”

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