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Photo by Matt Sachs, TexAgs
Texas A&M Basketball

Five Thoughts: Texas A&M 68, LSU 62

February 18, 2015
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1. Instant replay: Did the second matchup between Texas A&M and LSU on the hardwood seem to play out exactly like the first one? A&M started strong and built a lead, only to have the Tigers surge back before halftime. Then, coming out of the locker room, the Tigers built a double-digit advantage, only to shoot (and miss) a lot of threes while the Aggies continued to fight and attack for a come-from-behind win.

Tuesday's game was fun to watch. I'm not a very emotional person during a game because I know there will be highs and lows, but yesterday I found myself more involved as a fan than ever before. The game, mixed with the loud student section (not full, but the ones that were there had it rockin'), combined with the the DJ — I love the addition of the DJ and having him play music during timeouts, right until the very moment the ball is inbounded — and an exciting come-from-behind victory had me up and cheering.

Matt Sachs, TexAgs Danuel House proved to be the ultimate difference in A&M's favor, taking over at moments in the game when the Aggies needed it most. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"Danuel House proved to be the ultimate difference in A\u0026M\u0027s favor, taking over at moments in the game when the Aggies needed it most.","MediaItemID":53172}
2. Taking over the game: Danuel House started the game with nine points, two assists and a block in the first eight minutes of action, helping A&M jump out to a 21-10 lead. Then, from the 11:49 mark in the second half down to the 9:41 mark, House scored six points, grabbed three rebounds and dished an an assist. During those two minutes of action, A&M went from trailing the Tigers by eight points to gaining a two-point lead. To top it off, he hit two free throws with 20 seconds left to seal the victory.

House and Jalen Jones put their stamp on yet another game together. The two transfers combined to score 30 points, grab 12 rebounds and account for five assists, three steals and two blocks.

3. Game planning: Billy Kennedy and his staff did a tremendous job preparing their team for a tough battle. Within the first two minutes of the game, LSU had already been charged with two turnovers and A&M credited with two steal and two points.

Trapping ball screens is something that Ags have seldom done this year. The trapping of the ball screens in this instance did two things that were very important to the flow of the game: first, it didn't allow the LSU guards to set the offense and get into a rhythm; second, by pressuring the guards coming off the screens, it didn't give Mickey or Martin a chance to touch the ball down low in the paint, which resulted in a slow start for the Tigers' two most dominant players.

4. Execution: At the two-minute mark in the second half, Kennedy called a 30 second timeout to set up a good offensive play. The game was tied at 61 and A&M had just forced a turnover. The momentum was in their favor and this was the time for the Ags to strike.

The Ags threw the ball inbounds to Caruso on the wing and got into place. Roberson came over to set the screen like he did throughout the majority of the game, but this time, instead of setting the screen, the backside post cleared to the top of the key early and Kourtney slipped to the basket. Caruso hit him in stride with a great pass and Kourtney finished the play with a layup and a foul, making the free throw and giving A&M a 64-61 lead.

5. Stifling defense: Some analysts consider Jordan Mickey to be a top nominee for the All-America team this year. If he doesn't get that nod, the Fightin' Texas Aggie basketball may be to blame. In a game that will help determine NCAA Tournament bids/seeding, the Aggies held Mickey — a guy that averages a double-double on the season and leads his team in both scoring and rebounding — to just six points and four rebounds.

Caruso's turnovers also go along with the bench production. There were a few instances where had Jalen or Kourtney been in the game, Caruso's passes wouldn't have been turnovers — but he has to know his personnel. {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"left","Quote":"Caruso\u0027s turnovers also go along with the bench production. There were a few instances where had Jalen or Kourtney been in the game, Caruso\u0027s passes wouldn\u0027t have been turnovers — but he has to know his personnel.","Author":""}
And not only did the Ags play great against Mickey, but the Tigers' other NBA prospect, Jarell Martin, was held to below his scoring and rebounding averages as well.

BONUS. Turnovers: The Aggies did a good job of taking care of the ball, but Caruso ended the game with seven turnovers. A&M won, but Caruso has to make a conscious effort during the next game to make the smart play.

Caruso's turnovers also go along with the bench production. There were a few instances where had Jalen or Kourtney been in the game, Caruso's passes wouldn't have been turnovers — but he has to know his personnel.

BONUS II. Alex Robinson went back into his shell again vs. the Tigers. He struggled in the first half and didn't see the court in the second. Maturity and leadership will determine his career here in Aggieland.

Jordan Green knocked down a few big shots, to go along with his defensive effort.

Davonte Fitzgerald was given a chance to play and he didn't take advantage of his time. He missed a defensive assignment on the very first play he was in the game and all his shots throughout the night. But, a guy with his ability will be given another chance, because the moment he figures it out, this team will take off to an even higher level of play.
 
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