First of all, Sam Houston had a lot of injuries and they were very depleted so the 65-37 win was nice but don't look too much into it. With that said, I thought the team played with a lot more intensity. You also have to start giving the staff credit for the defensive performances. This was the fourth straight game A&M has held its opponent to under 50 points. That hasn't happened since 1950. Think about that a minute. Billy Gillespie and his great defenses played plenty of cupcakes this time of year and his teams never accomplished this feat.
The key to the defense is two-fold. First, the two point guards, Dash Harris and Jamal Banch, can stick and hassle any point guard or two-guard. Once the defense can stop the opposing guards from driving to the basket and collapsing the defense, the odds of getting a stop goes up two-fold. Secondly, the posts are doing a good job of backside help and changing shots of the opposing shooters.
On offense, it wasn't an explosive effort, but it was efficient and much better than previous contests the past two weeks. Here are my pros and cons from the game:
Things I Liked
1. Ray Turner continues to slowly transform from a role player to a go-to player. His confidence level has improved greatly and he's playing with more intensity and authority around the basket. He's always been a great jumbo athlete, but he's now learned how to play with consistency and more intensity. He finished with his first double-double of his career (15 points, 10 rebounds).
2. The biggest news story from Wednesday was the inspired play of Keith Davis. Is the light bulb starting to go off in his head for the 6-foot-10 sophomore? If last night was any indication, possibly. He's always been a pretty solid defender but he's becoming more aggressive in backside support and blocking shots. He had a career high five blocks, and one was especially strong that landed on ESPN's Top 10 plays of the day (No. 4). He also had seven rebounds in 19 minutes. I've said since last year, if this roster is going to compete against the Tp 15 caliber teams, the Aggies must get quality minutes from Davis who is the longest athlete on the roster and who could match up better with the long Baylor and Kansas athletes. He needs to improve his hands a little, but he's coming around nicely and he's earning 20 minutes of play.
3. I mentioned team defense earlier, but holding the opponent to 25% field goal percentage and 37 points means the defense is doing something right. The Aggies also won the battle of the boards by almost 20. It was a dominant defensive performance.
4. The team got off to a quick start going up 16-4 and playing with a lot of energy. For the most part they never had a big lull or a period of poor play.
5. Khris Middleton is practicing with the team and he's expected back in the lineup on Saturday against UL-M.
Things That Concern Me
1. I'm still very concerned with Elston Turner's foot speed and intensity on defense. He's the one weak link on the defensive end. Not only does he have issues of natural foot speed, but there have been several times where Turner didn't hustle back on defense and gave up a few easy baskets.
2. Dash Harris hurt his leg/ankle in the first half and was carried off the court and taken off the bench. He came back in the second half to play, but he was still favoring the leg. Hopefully, this doesn't become a nagging injury. A&M needs his defense.
3. The team is still turning the ball over too much, although much less than in earlier games. They turned it over 11 times, and they still need to get that number down well below 10.
4. While the offense looked better last night, they are still having problems breaking a zone from the outside. The team still can't break 70 points even playing an inferior team.
Hop's Hoops Report - Sam Houston Game
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