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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Rolled over

Aggies pummeled by Crimson Tide to drop second straight on the road
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Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) gets helped up by Texas A&M Aggies guard Jace Carter (0) during Texas A&M’s game against Florida on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)

It’s been a rough week for Aggie fans, and Saturday’s contest was the crimson-colored cherry on top.

After falling to the cellar-dwelling Vanderbilt Commodores on Tuesday, Feb.13, Texas A&M men’s basketball had to try to rebound on the road at Coleman Coliseum against the No. 16 Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Aggies seemed like they may prove more competitive than their last outing early on, taking the early lead and going blow for blow with the Crimson Tide. The Maroon and White cut Alabama’s lead to 4 at the 6:11 mark of the first half and looked poised to be in another SEC battle.

That competitive fire fizzled out from then on.

The Crimson Tide dominated the last 26 minutes of the game, out-scoring the Aggies by 21 en route to a 100-75 beatdown.

A&M’s defense favors the shooter, and that’s all that Alabama has

There’s no better shooting team in the entire country than the Crimson Tide right now.

With its No. 1 ranked offense, Alabama has hit 100 points eight times now this season, and with its lineup, there’s no surprise as to why.

The Crimson Tide are No. 4 as a team in 3-point attempts per game, but don’t have a single person in the top 50 for individual attempts or makes. That’s because, unlike with A&M and junior guard Wade Taylor IV, everyone from Alabama can and will make shots from deep.

The Aggies’ defense is known to trap in the post, which means that it’s usually just one kick-out pass to the corner to get the entire defense in rotation. The Crimson Tide took complete and total advantage of that in this one.

Alabama shot 43.9% from 3, draining 18. This is the most shots made beyond the arch against the Aggies this season and the most A&M has given up in Buzz Williams’ tenure.

When one or two other players are the ones draining shots, like junior guards Johnell Davis and Alijiah Martin were earlier this season when A&M faced FAU, the Aggies can still hang on. But not when it’s the entire team.
The Crimson Tide had eight different players hit a 3, with four hitting at least two. The Aggies didn’t do themselves any favors, but when a team is shooting like that from behind the 3-point line, it’s nigh-impossible to stop them.

Senior G Mark Sears continued to show why he’s in talks for SEC Player of the Year, racking up 23 points while shooting 4-7 from deep. For comparison, the Maroon and White made four 3s the entire game.

Getting offensive rebounds is great, but A&M has to score in extra possessions

It is well known by now that the Aggies are going to offensive rebound the ball. There’s a reason they’re No. 1 in the country in that category, averaging 17.67 per game.

A&M snagged a whopping 26 against Alabama, which going strictly off of that stat, many would believe the Maroon and White flew out of Tuscaloosa, Alabama with a victory, yet they lost by 25.

The reason for the discrepancy is that despite those 26 boards, the Aggies only had 21 second-chance points, only good for .8 points per extra possession.

It’s important for A&M going forward that it doesn’t lose its identity. The Aggies rely on the offensive glass, and it has been the reason for victory most of this season. But getting the rebound is step No. 1. Step No. 2 is finishing the extra possession with points. Numbers aren’t added on the scoreboard for rebounds.

Turnovers have suddenly became a problem for A&M

Two games ago, A&M was the best in the conference in turnovers per game, allowing only 9.3 turnovers per game.

Since then, the Aggies have given up an average of 13 turnovers.

The Maroon and White’s offense does not play fast enough or efficiently enough to have empty possessions, especially to a team like Alabama who takes those live-ball turnovers and turns them into fastbreak points.

Turnovers cannot continue to be a trend if the Aggies want to hold their spot in the NCAA tournament. Luckily for them, they get Arkansas at home next, a chance to rebound after back-to-back losses.

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About the Contributor
Hunter Mitchell, Associate Sports Editor
Hunter Mitchell is a sport management senior minoring in journalism. Hunter has covered football, men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball, softball, hockey, cross country, track and field, along with swim and dive. Hunter's favorite sport is college basketball, and he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association. Hunter also hosts weekly episodes of the Home Turf sports podcast.
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    David R FeuerbornFeb 18, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    The men’s team has a lot of work to do if they want to get to the NCAA dance.

    Reply