Hop's Hoops Analysis - Arkansas Pine Bluff

The Texas Aggie basketball team played its best game of the year in an 88-55 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Tuesday night. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop takes a deeper look int what was clicking and why the team is starting to gel in his game analysis.

There were stretches of sloppy play as reflected in the 15 turnovers in Tuesday night's 88-55 win over Arkansas - Pine Bluff. However, virtually every offensive statistic reflects what I saw....the best offensive performance by an Aggie team in the Kennedy era.

A&M players dished out a whopping 19 assists, shot 59.6% from the field, 60% from beyond the arc, and got to the free throw line 35 times. The Aggies will win every game with those four game statistics. So how did it happen, especially with the team struggling so badly against the zone defense earlier in the season?

Well, instead of passively swinging the ball around the perimeter which is what the team did in previous weeks, in Tuesday's game the guards would either penetrate the perimeter zone defense and collapse the zone that opens up opportunities for other players on the team, or they would loosen up the zone with some fake passes to the inside and then swing it to the open outside shooter for a quick shot.

It appeared that the team has worked hard in recent days to utilize this penetration tactic to collapse these zones and provide some quick assists and scoring. The hard work paid off as the team looked more comfortable and more fluid running this new approach. The result was a very active half-court offense that scored quickly and in bunches.

Jamal Jones is starting to settle in with his outside shot hitting 5-of-7 three-balls, although I still say he's at his best driving to the bucket. I thought Fabyon Harris had one of his better games as an Aggie adding four nice assists to a performance that included two difficult 3-point shots. Jordan Green's confidence is sky high and he made several strong moves to the basket. It was another balanced attack with four players in double figures ( Jones 18, Harris 12, Roberson 11, Green 11).

Other than some soft post defense that allowed undersized A-PB big men to hit some short jumpers, hooks, and lay-ups, the defense played swarming perimeter defense. They gave up a few baseline drives and easy buckets, but for the most part the defense guarded well most of the evening.

But, it was the performance of the offense that should have A&M hoops fans happy and willing to come out to support the team...they were actually fun and entertaining to watch Tuesday night.

The team steps up in competition this Friday and Saturday when they face off against Missouri St. this Friday at 9:00 PM (CBS Sports Network) and will then face either SMU or Virginia in the Saturday game.

Like I said, this was one of the best offensive showings in the Kennedy era and if the team can continue to hit some outside shots and collapse the zone defense, this squad has a chance to be pretty decent. My one concern left is the post defense, which could be a problem when the Aggies start playing more physical BCS teams. There's simply no bulk or muscle in the post once you get past Kourtney Roberson who played just 20 minutes on Tuesday.

I' m not ready to make my NCAA reservations just yet, but this team is starting to blend together and playing an entertaining brand of basketball. Next up is seeing if they can play the same way against a better opponent.

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