I'll have more of a season recap and thoughts on the program later, but as far as Thursday's game against NCAA bubble team Missouri, I thought A&M played about as well as they could play on the offensive end. You can always go back and find some wasted possessions, but for the most part I thought A&M was efficient on offense shooting about 48% for the game and 71% of free throws.
It's ironic that the early season struggles revolved around the lack of perimeter shooting from the guards. But in the last month, Jamal Jones and Alex Caruso established themselves as go-to scorers at the guard spots while the post play simply fell apart.
Yes, A&M isn't lengthy and had inherent disadvantages on the glass most of the year. However, the performance in the paint in all facets of the game have deteriorated in recent weeks that coincided with the team's three game losing streak to end the season. First of all, the rebounding was atrocious and you can easily place the blame of this loss on the lack of aggressiveness and energy on a missed shot around the basket. How bad was it? Missouri doesn't have a huge post presence yet out-rebounded A&M 48-28. In fact, Missouri had more offensive rebounds (19) than Texas A&M had defensive rebounds (16). On numerous occasions, A&M had chances to trim the lead after a Missouri missed shot, but the Tigers were there to grab the board get two of their 30 second chance points.
No ifs, ands, or buts, lack of rebounding lost this game. The team is actually playing better now`on offense than at any point prior to this season. The offense finally found its identity and Caruso and Jones were their leaders. THis leadership and playing ability will be valuable next season. But none of their exploits as upperclassmen next season will lead to bigger success unless the staff can upgrade the post play. Yeah, Trocha is the guy every Aggie fan is praying for right now. He brings length, but what I saw today was more than just longer guys out-rebounding shorter guys. A&M's posts (especially Roberson) simply were not quick and aggressive enough.
Johns needs to learn to play defense with his feet, not his hands. Miller is just too short, period. Space needs to play tougher. Roberson has to be more aggressive going after rebounds.
A&M's post players were simply bad on Thursday.
Anyhow, Caruso had his best game as a collegiate player by scoring 28 points, 7 assists, 3 steals, and he led the team in rebounding with 8. Jones had 20 points battling dehydration and strep throat. Both players played all the way through two OT's.
In conclusion, the team played well in most facets of the game, but the rebounding and 30-point second chance FG's wiped out any improvements and gains in other areas.
It was a hard fought game and A&M did some things very well, but the team's post play MUST be addressed in this off-season if A&M hopes to get a big boost out of the incoming class in the fall.
Hop's Hoops Analysis - Missouri OT Loss
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