Balanced Aggies ready for next challenge

The Aggies have been extremely balanced so far this year--just the way that new head coach Mark Turgeon likes it. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at that balance as the Aggies prepare for tonight's match up with Alabama

When the Aggies began the 2007-08 season, the question on everyone's mind was, ‘how will A&M replace the point production of Acie Law?'

The answer so far is ‘everyone.'

"That's the way I coach," Turgeon said. "There will be nights where a guy has 23, 25, or 27 points, but I want a team where I don't have to rely on Josh Carter or Joe Jones every night. I want to rely on seven or eight guys to score baskets. It's a lot easier to coach and a lot more relaxing when you know you have a lot of guys that can get it done for you."

So far this season, the Aggies have done just that.

Through the first six games this season, A&M has had four different leading scorers—Josh Carter, who led the team in scoring for the first three games of the season, Brian Davis, Donald Sloan and Derrick Roland have each led the team in the last three games.

But even when one player has a hot night, the entire team is still involved in Turgeon's motion offense. In fact, in each of the Aggies first six games this year, at least three players have posted double-digit point totals. Joseph Jones—who oddly enough has not led the team in scoring yet—DeAndre Jordan, Dominique Kirk and Nathan Walkup have all posted 10 points or more in at least one game this year.

Joseph Jones, DeAndre Jordan and Carter are all averaging more than 10 points per game, and seven Aggies are averaging 7.2 points per game or more.

Those guys are why Turgeon likes his No. 9 ranked Aggies so much.

"We have seven guys that can start," Turgeon said. "We have seven really good players and I like to have guys that can score."

That balanced offense is what the Aggies hope will continue to carry them through the remaining two games in a four-game stretch that Turgeon is using to get the most out of his players.

"I said last week that this four game stretch is not going to make our season and it's not going to break our season., but we're off to a good start," Turgeon said. "These next two teams are more talented and better than the last two we just played."

Tonight, the Aggies will take on a 3-1 Alabama team isn't quite as balanced as the Aggies, but they've got three players averaging more than 13 points per game, including 6-foot-9 Richard Hendrix, who's averaging 23.8 points and 14.5 rebounds per game.

But the Aggies were extremely successful at shutting down the big men from Washington and Ohio State last week in New York, and they'll continue to use the same strategy against Hendrix.

"We're going to put DeAndre on him, and then put Junior (Elonu) in early and give him a chance," Turgeon said. "Hopefully, we'll keep Joe out of foul trouble until we absolutely need him. We were able to do that in the Washington game."

If the Aggies' towering front court continues to keep their opponents from scoring in the paint, it will put more pressure on 6-foot-6 Crimson Tide guards Mykal Riley and Alonzo Gee.

Riley is averaging 13 points and Gee has posted 15 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, and their height could present a challenge for A&M's shorter guards.

"They're tall and they're running their offense well, scoring 85 points a game," Turgeon said. "They really haven't played a big game yet, so I'm sure they'll be really focused in. We're expecting their best shot come Wednesday night and hopefully our young guys won't get caught up in what has happened this past week."

Tip-off, which was originally scheduled for 8 p.m., has been moved to 8:20 p.m. by ESPNU for television programming purposes.

Log in to Aggie Websider after the game for post-game analysis and a first look at the match up at Arizona on Sunday.

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