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Texas A&M Basketball

Perimeter shooting critical if Aggies want to upset Kentucky

January 7, 2019
2,201

Misfortune is said to come in threes.

That sure appears the case for Texas A&M, which is hoping to avoid a third straight basketball loss.

To do so, the Aggies (6-6, 0-1) must defeat No 13 Kentucky in Lexington, with the Wildcats seeking redemption following a rare loss. Tipoff is at 6 p.m.

That’s a troublesome trio. Yet, the Aggies’ task is even more problematic because of… well, 3’s.

Kentucky (10-3, 0-1) has suffered three losses — to Duke, Seton Hall and 77-75 to Alabama last Saturday. Those opponents combined to shoot 44 percent (33 of 75) from 3-point range. Alabama made 10 of 23 attempts beyond the arc.

It would seem clear that the key to defeating Kentucky is high volume and high percentage shooting from 3-point range.

“We’re going to have to have a special performance kind of like Alabama had,” A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. “(Alabama guard) Tevin Mack made six 3’s in that game. That’s what you have to have to beat a really good Kentucky team.”

“A lot of teams are starting to play us zone, so we’ve got to be able to knock down shots when we’re open.”
- Wendell Mitchell

But 3-point accuracy has been problem for the Aggies, who are among the nation’s most erratic teams from outside. They converted just 20.8 percent (5 of 24) from behind the arc in a 73-71 loss to Arkansas last Saturday.

“A lot of teams are starting to play us zone,” said junior guard Wendell Mitchell, who misfired on all seven 3-pointers he attempted against Arkansas. “So we’ve got to be able to knock down shots when we’re open.”

The Aggies have the ability to score in bunches from 3-point range, but have been inconsistent. A&M converted nine 3-pointers in a loss to Texas Southern. The Aggies also hit nine in a victory over Valparaiso.

“I’ve seen it in practice some, but I haven’t seen it a whole lot in the games,” Kennedy said. “We’ve made nine 3’s (in a loss to Texas Southern). We’re going to have to have a special game like that. Or more.”

The Aggies likely will need a strong showing from the perimeter because points in the paint may be hard to come by.

Forward Christian Mekowulu averages 10.3 points, but managed only two in the loss to Arkansas. Also, 6-8 forward Josh Nebo has been limited to six points or less in four of the last five games.

Clashes under the basket won’t be any easier against 6-foot-8 Kentucky forwards Reid Travis, who averages 14.4 points and 6.2 rebounds, and Dallas product PJ Washington, who averages 12.8 points and 8.3 boards.

As typically the case, the Wildcats pose problems in the backcourt too. Keldon Johnson, a 6-6 guard, averages 16.2 points. Freshman guard Tyler Herro averages 13.2.

“They’ve got good size,” Kennedy said. “They bring (6-11 sophomore forward) Nick Richards off the bench. The Reid kid is a big, physical, power post player. PJ Washington is playing well.

“I think they’re a physical front line. A lot more physical than you think.”

Discussion from...

Perimeter shooting critical if Aggies want to upset Kentucky

zooguy96
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Well, we shoot 28.3% on 3's, so we'd have to get really lucky.
75AG
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AG
What is this "perimeter shooting" you speak of?
bobinator
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AG
We're not 'one of the nations most erratic teams' from outside, were one of the absolute worst teams, period. We're the worst power six team, and we rank 336 out of 353.

Relying on making threes is essentially admitting we have no chance to win unless we get lucky. Which, to be fair, against Kentucky might be the case.

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