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Savion Flagg
Jay Jay Chandler
Buzz Williams
Texas A&M Basketball

Aggies drop 68-54 decision to ninth-ranked Vols despite improvement

January 9, 2021
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The Aggies rebounded better. Their 3-point shooting improved. They were accurate at the free throw line. Savion Flagg broke out of a slump.

A&M (6-4, 1-3) reached a lot of their goals on Saturday. Yet, the Aggies still suffered a 68-54 Southeastern Conference basketball loss to Tennessee.

Perhaps that’s just a testament to the strength of the ninth-ranked Volunteers. Despite an overall solid performance, the Aggies never seriously threatened in the second half.

That’s mainly because Tennessee (9-1, 3-1) converted  58.7 percent of its shots and limited the Aggies to 12 points in the paint.

While the Aggies typically set up one-on-one matchups in the offensive end, the Volunteers routinely moved the ball too quickly for A&M to catch up on defense. Tennessee accumulated 23 assists that often led to easy points in the paint or open looks from the 3-point line.

Maybe some of that should be expected from an opponent that Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said is the best team he’s faced as the Aggies’ coach.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Williams was happier with the effort from his team after a rough outing earlier in the week at South Carolina.

The crowd of 1,298 at Reed Arena saw Tennessee make shot after shot, especially in the first half when the Vols hit 15 of 24 attempts. Williams saw his defense too often out of position to contest shots.

“Some of the uncontested threes we gave away were late in the possession where we’re in rotation, and our rotation on the backside was wrong and or late,” Williams said. “As the possession went on defensively we began to decay. It ended up with 3 to 5 seconds left on the (shot) clock where we’re giving up an uncontested shot from three because we didn’t finish the possession the right way.”

That was particularly the case midway through the first half.

Guard Santiago Vescovi drilled consecutive 3-point goals to kick off a 5-minute span in which the Volunteers outscored A&M 17-4 to take a 27-13 lead.

Vescovi hit a half dozen 3-pointers and led the Vols with 23 points.

“We still have to help him more,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “We are putting too much on him. Some of that comes from his pride to handle everything all the time, and I get that. We have to continue to teach him that he has to conserve some energy along the way.”

At that point, it appeared the outcome would be settled by halftime.

However, the Aggies started hitting 3-pointers, too. The Aggies hit six of their next eight shots. Five of those were 3-pointers. Three treys were from Flagg, who broke out of a slump to lead the Aggies with 12 points.

“I’ve been getting a lot more shots up outside of practice,” said Flagg, who had converted just 3 of 21 shots in three previous SEC games. “Coming in the gym, getting extra work in with the coaches, getting the managers come help me rebound. Trying to find my touch again.”

Williams said Flagg’s work on the offensive boards boosted his shooting. Flagg only had one of A&M’s 14 offensive rebounds but was involved in five team offensive boards.

“His ability to rebound and have a presence of the glass will directly impact the percentage of shots that he makes,” Williams said. “I think his activity level on the glass is directly correlated with how hard he’s playing. The harder he plays, the more he’s involved on the glass. I think the byproduct of that is he will make more shots.”

“I think (Flagg’s) activity level on the glass is directly correlated with how hard he’s playing. The harder he plays, the more he’s involved on the glass. I think the byproduct of that is he will make more shots.”
- Buzz Williams

The Aggies needed it. Forward Emanuel Miller struggled in the post against the taller Volunteers and was limited to 8 points. It’s the first time this season Miller was held under double figures.

Flagg’s regained touch enabled the Aggies to close to within 37-30 at the break.

But Tennessee opened the second half with a 7-0 run. A&M’s deficit was never less than nine points the rest of the way.

The Aggies made just 5 of 17 shots (29.4 percent) and committed 10 turnovers in the second half.

Still, Williams could at least find some solace in the fact the Aggies played much better than in a 78-54 loss at South Carolina last Wednesday.

“We were dramatically better today. We had nine offensive rebounds at halftime and only five turnovers, which is very encouraging,” Williams said. “In the game as a whole, we had 14 total offensive rebounds, and only five of those were team rebounds. That speaks to the activity level of our group at trying to garner extra possessions.

“The thing that is encouraging is that this is the first time since we started conference play that we shot more balls than our opponent. It’s the only time other than maybe the Auburn game (a 68-66 victory) where we out-rebounded our opponent. Those categories were much improved, which is why that portion of the game is for sure encouraging.”

Discussion from...

Aggies drop 68-54 decision to ninth-ranked Vols despite improvement

1,540 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 9 days ago by oldfart79
Agvet12
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AG
I know it's the off-season but basketball news on the football board?
AggieBeavs86
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AG
.....and this is football related how????
oldfart79
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OB FOOTBALL SON FOOTBALL, take it to basket ball channel if doint mind. love ya
oldfart79
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