While the Aggies won for the seventh straight time, matching the second best start in school history at 11-1, they did it again in an unimpressive fashion, beating Sam Houston St. 60-50. Still eluded by the dominating performance for all 40 minutes, the Aggies were comfortably in the lead until late in the second half.
"In the end you get a win out of it. I thought we were really good defensively for a long stretch up until the 5-minute mark of the second half," Turgeon said. "Our transition defense let us down a few times. Our first shot defense was tremendous. We just didn't rebound the way we are capable of. We took the night off there. Overall Sam Houston came in and were going to grind it, and use the clock, and they did a great job of that. And that made it a low-possession game. We didn't finish the game the right way. I thought the first 15 minutes of the second half we were pretty good. Considering we couldn't make many free throws or layups, we still built the lead up."
While A&M found good presence by the inside men on offense, the Aggies struggled at the one and three positions, with Donald Sloan and Josh Carter combining for only 11 points in 61 minutes, shooting a combined 3-13 from the field. Additionally, despite having the height advantage on virtually every position, the Aggies were edged in rebounding by the quicker Bearkats.
"I didn't think we were very mentally tough tonight," Turgeon said. "Some guys didn't play well and they let it affect them the whole game, and you can't do that. We'll try to get a little bit better offensively going into Rice. I thought our defensive effort was pretty good for most part. We will work on rebounds, obviously. We have to rebound better. There were a lot of long rebounds tonight that we didn't chase down. That's disappointing."
As expected from our Sam Houston St. preview, the Aggies' main focus was to get the ball down low to the interior men and exploit the height differential down under. As a result, Bryan Davis finished with 10 points and Chinemelu finished with 11, although Turgeon still believes there was plenty of room for improvement.
"We talked about getting it inside and thought we did a pretty good job of that, or we'd get it in there and get fouled and then we'd miss a free throw," Turgeon said. "I thought one thing we did consistently well was throw the ball inside. We shot the ball way too quick, especially early in the game. We missed a lot of shots in the paint and a lot of free throws too. We weren't very good tonight, but we won, and we'll move on."
However, despite the unimpressive win, there was some outstanding positives to take away from the game. First, the sudden rise of guard B.J. Holmes and post man Elonu continues to develop, as they split the game highs in points with 11. Second, the defense of Derrick Roland continues to make up for any lack of firepower on the offensive end. Bearkat Corey Allmond came into the game averaging over 13 points per game, but was held scoreless for the first game all season.
"I thought we did a great job on [Corey Allmond]," Turgeon said. "He wasn't in any rhythm all night. I thought Derrick Roland did a good job on him, and B.J. Holmes. We knew (Ashton) Mitchell was a heck of a player too and we did a pretty good job on him. Defensively, like I said, they had 33 points I think with about six to go in the game. We were guarding tonight."
Turgeon speaks about win over Bearkats
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