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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Men’s basketball rematches Missouri in dire need of win

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Junior guard Tyrece Radford (23) prepares to shoot a free throw against Kentucky on Wednesday Jan. 19, 2022.

Just three weeks ago, the Aggies were undefeated in the Southeastern Conference and on men’s basketball’s longest win streak in four years. Now, with the calendar flipping to February, Texas A&M has lost five straight, dropping to seventh in the SEC with about a month left in the regular season.
The last game A&M won was on the road against Missouri on Jan. 15. This Saturday, Feb. 5, the Aggies will be matched against the Tigers again, this time looking to put an end to their losing-streak rather than extend a winning streak. Missouri will be doing the same after losing its last four contests, winning only two out of its last ten games.
Sloppy play on the offensive end and getting outrebounded have been recurring issues with this year’s team in losses and that was seen again in A&M’s recent loss at Tennessee. Freshman guard Wade Taylor IV said the team knows what it has to do differently this weekend.
“I wouldn’t say [there’s] frustration, because after every game we know what we did that caused us to lose,” Taylor said. “We’re turning the ball over and not completing our stops with defensive rebounds, and that’s going to hurt us every time. Until we get better at those things, then it is what it is.”
Coach Buzz Williams said it’s difficult to win games against any team when turnovers and poor rebounding are on display consistently. A&M was much cleaner in these areas in the last win against Missouri, which was a major difference between winning and losing that tight 67-64 game. Against Tennessee, those mistakes accounted for a large portion of the 90 points scored by the Volunteers.
“I understand we’re going to have turnovers and give away offensive rebounds, but we gave up 28 points from those two things — that’s 30% of their points,” Williams said. “We have to control our turnovers better, and we can’t allow an opponent, regardless of who it is or where we play, to get more offensive rebounds than we do defensive rebounds.”
In stark contrast, Missouri had more turnovers than the Aggies and had less rebounds. This led to A&M having more shot attempts and made shots, which allows more room for error late in games. Unfortunately, the maroon and white have had to instead play catch-up due to the aforementioned issues.
“Those numbers — we have to do better,” Williams said. “You have to play with higher discipline, a higher toughness level, and you have to do it from start to finish.”
What would also help the Aggies is getting back to early-season form from behind the 3-point line. During the losing streak, A&M has shot 28% on 3s, which dropped its season average to 34%. That is still the second-best clip in the SEC, which really shows how far the Aggies have fallen in that department. But, that also shows the potential of just how well this team should be shooting.
Hitting more 3-pointers would drastically help the Aggies in halting other teams’ momentums. In the last few weeks, A&M has struggled to respond when other teams go on scoring runs. Junior guard Tyrece Radford said this was a part of Williams’ message to the team after the Tennessee loss.
“Everybody’s got to do their job,” Radford said. “Just have faith in one another, like we always have, and execute at the end of the day. When teams go on their runs, we’ve got to throw a jab or two back.”
After Saturday’s Missouri game, the Aggies have back-to-back ranked matchups with No. 25 LSU and No. 1 Auburn. The next couple weeks will be crucial in determining what postseason fate A&M will draw. A win this weekend would be crucial for the Aggies as the month wears on.
A&M and Missouri are set for a 3 p.m. tipoff on Saturday, Feb. 5 from Reed Arena on ESPN2. The Aggies have won four of their last five against the Tigers and own the all-time series advantage 22-19.

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