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Texas A&M Basketball

A&M looks to end two-game slump in D.J. Hogg's return to the lineup

January 5, 2018
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Sharp-shooting 6-foot-10 guard/forward D.J. Hogg is back in the lineup.

That means Texas A&M will get back on track. The Aggies hope so, anyway.

During Hogg’s three-game suspension the once fifth-ranked Aggies have gone 1-2 and lost their first two Southeastern Conference basketball games.

The once-soaring Aggies (11-3, 0-2) aim to break their fall when they face LSU (9-4, 0-1) Saturday afternoon at Reed Arena.

The Aggies have had a damaging run of bad luck. Guards Admon Gilder and Duane Wilson have been sidelined with knee injuries and are not expected to play against LSU. Also, forward Robert Williams has had a bout with a flu-like virus that’s kept him out of practice this week.

But the return of Hogg, A&M’s leading scorer and three-point shooter, should give the Aggies a big boost in scoring as well as loosing up defenses that have collapsed inside on Williams and center Tyler Davis.

“He’s an elite shooter. He’s going to help us spread the floor a lot. He’s going to give us a lot of size inside, be able to rebound, post up. He’ll make a big difference,” Davis said of Hogg. “With his help and his ability to change our offense and play defense as well.”

The Aggies have had a damaging run of bad luck. Guards Admon Gilder and Duane Wilson have been sidelined with knee injuries and are not expected to play against LSU.

A&M coach Billy Kennedy indicated Hogg would return immediately to the starting lineup.

“We’re looking forward to adding DJ to the mix,” Kennedy said. “The way we play with dominant post play you’ve got to have guys on the perimeter who can score and think and play and have been in that situation before. So, it’s definitely an addition adding him to our team.

“We’re going to go with him. He served his penalty and we’re going to move on.”

The Aggies are counting on Hogg’s return to help them move out of their current slump. They’ve suffered consecutive blow out losses to Alabama and Florida.

A home loss to LSU could prove devastating to A&M’s SEC championship hopes, especially with a trip to Kentucky coming up on Tuesday. Last year victories over LSU were easily attained. That hasn’t been the case this year under first-year coach Will Wade.

The Tigers lost by just three points, 74-71, to Kentucky on Wednesday night. Freshman guard Tremont Waters, who is averaging 17.2 points per game, has been a big reason for LSU’s significant improvement.

“He’s pumped some life into their program … the newness, the energy and enthusiasm,” Kennedy said. “They had good players in the past — top 100 players. (junior guard) Brandon Sampson and (sophomore guard) Skylar Mays. Now they add a Top 20 player like Tremont Waters, who is a difference-maker on the floor.”

Of course, the Aggies feel like Hogg can be a difference-maker, too, now that he's back on the floor.

“It’s important that we get going on the right track,” Kennedy said. “We’re at home. It’s a home game more than anything and our next opponent is not real easy.

“We’ve got an opportunity. We’re at home. We’ve got D.J. back. So, hopefully we can get a win. It’s important that we get going again.”

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A&M looks to end two-game slump in D.J. Hogg's return to the lineup

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