Photo by Lia Musgrave, TexAgs
Texas A&M Basketball

Defensive resurgence fuels A&M's comeback victory over Ole Miss, 57-47

January 8, 2020
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In 20 minutes, the Aggies made a remarkable transformation from dormant to dominant.

They followed a horrific first half with a prolific second half to claim a stunning 57-47 Southeastern Conference basketball victory over Ole Miss before a Reed Arena crowd of 5,982 on Tuesday night.

Josh Nebo got the bounce on a turn-around jumper with 1:35 to play and he, Savion Flagg and Jay Jay Chandler converted sets of free throws in the final minute to hold off a mild rally by the Rebels (9-5, 0-1).

A&M (7-6, 1-1) trailed 29-19 at halftime. In the first half, the Aggies shot just 26.9 percent from the field, missed all ten attempts from 3-point range and were outscored by Ole Miss senior guard Breein Tyree, who had 21 of his team’s 29 points at the break.

But following apparent halftime adjustments, the Aggies shot 54.4 percent and held Tyree to just five points.

“The first half, it was really just one guy,” A&M guard Wendell Mitchell said. “Tyree was getting everything he wanted. Everything was falling for him. He had 21 of 29 points in the first half. So, we kind of focused a little more on him in the second half.”

“I think those kids care about one another. I think they try for one another. I think no matter how many setbacks or pitfalls, they still compete with all they have.”
- A&M head coach Buzz Williams

Coach Buzz Williams said adjustments were made at halftime. He also said those adjustments had little to do with the Aggies' second-half surge.

“I just have the ultimate respect for how hard our guys are trying,” Williams said. “We tried some stuff in the second half that we drew up on the board at halftime.

“I don’t think that’s why we won. I think those kids care about one another. I think they try for one another. I think no matter how many setbacks or pitfalls, they still compete with all they have.”

Earlier this week, Williams said A&M victories would require a Nebo double-double, a strong effort from Flagg, Mitchell to shoot at least 30 percent and good free-throw shooting.

Almost all those boxes were checked.

The Aggies shot 84.2 percent (16 of 19) at the foul line. Mitchell hit 4 of 11 field-goal attempts and finished with nine points. Flagg had 11 points and eight rebounds.

Only Nebo came up short. He scored 17 points, but “only” managed nine rebounds. He compensated with four blocked shots and altered a few more.

“We need a lot of things to go almost perfect,” Williams said. “To their credit, they’ve embraced those things and not been resistant. They’re not scared of what we’re asking them to do.”

That was obvious in the remarkable second-half rally, which seemed to launch soon after Tyree left the court with his third foul.

Trailing 32-21, Nebo finished off a traditional three-point play to start a 13-0 rally.

Mitchell, who has struggled to find his shooting touch much of this season, scored six-straight points in the run that gave the Aggies a lead they’d never relinquish.

TexAgs
Perhaps equally entertaining as the Aggies on the court was Buzz Williams on the sideline. The A&M head man was as animated as anybody inside Reed Arena on Tuesday night.

However, the Aggies did most of the work on the defensive end during that run. They held Ole Miss scoreless for six minutes and 59 seconds.

"The first half, we competed better,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. “Breein got going. (He) had 21. When he got out of the game … you saw. We’ve had struggles like that offensively all year long.

“But just give Texas A&M a lot of credit. Their team is really improving. They’re a tough group together, and they’re going to be a tough out for a lot of teams.”

Ole Miss forward Blake Hinson finally ended that drought with a layup that trimmed A&M’s lead to 36-34 with 10:58 to play.

The Aggies were in a similar position last Saturday against Arkansas but wilted down the stretch. This time, they made every clutch play necessarily to stave off the Rebels and eventually pull away.

A&M built its lead to 49-39 on an Andre Gordon 3-pointer with 4:35 to play. Ole Miss, though, quickly cut the margin in half with a pull-up jumper by Devontae Shuler and another Tyree 3-pointer.

Tyree again hit from 3-point range to cut A&M’s lead to 51-47 with 52.6 seconds left.

Then Flagg, Nebo and Chandler combined for six consecutive free throws to clinch the victory.

Discussion from...

Defensive resurgence fuels A&M's comeback victory over Ole Miss, 57-47

4,884 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 8 mo ago by agtrevino07
NumberEinAg
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AG
Love these guys! This is "Billy Ball" without the baggage. Give Buzz a few more players and we're going to be good!!
"They who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin
Rock1982
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AG
Well done Buzz!
randy828
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csag75
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agtrevino07
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