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Texas A&M Basketball

Late shooting drought costs Aggies after red-hot second-half rally

January 26, 2021

Texas weather in January can be unusually hot one minute and incredibly cold the next.

The same was true for Texas A&M’s shooting on Tuesday night.

A torrid stretch enabled the Aggies to rally from an early 17-point deficit. However, a frigid finish resulted in a 78-66 Southeastern Conference basketball loss to LSU at Reed Arena.

The Aggies (7-7, 2-6) held a 66-60 lead after a Jay Jay Chandler 3-pointer with 8:50 remaining but missed their last 15  shots as LSU (11-4, 6-3) closed with an 18-0 run.

LSU freshman guard Cameron Thomas scored 11 of his game-high 28 points in the final run.

Despite suffering a third consecutive defeat, A&M coach Buzz Williams appeared encouraged.

“I thought we played incredibly hard,” he said. “I thought it was the most connected we have been all season, not just in conference play. I thought you could hear it. I thought you could see it. I thought you could feel it. (I’m) encouraged.

Flagg (1) and Chandler combined for 38 points but no one could score for A&M in the final 8 minutes.

“Whatever that was the last 8 minutes … man can we make a basket? But the effort and the tenacity in which we tried is so encouraging. I think that effort and spirit in which we were connected and competing with … I honestly believe that’s why we did have a sustainable period on offense.”

The Aggies showed remarkable improvement in several key areas. They had a season-low 8 turnovers, grabbed 37 rebounds — 15 on the offensive end — and were shooting 46.1 percent until their closing drought. A&M also equaled a season-high with a dozen 3-pointers.

Also, the senior combination of Savion Flagg, Jay Jay Chandler and Quenton Jackson broke out after combining for zero points in a 61-50 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday.

Chandler equaled a career-high with 21 points and had a career-high 5 treys. Flagg had 17 points and hit three times from behind the arc. Jackson hit a pair of 3-pointers and finished with eight points.

“I don’t think we have been our best regardless of how old they are at all this year,” Williams said. “We’ve seen glimpses of ceilings. We’ve seen glimpses of potential. But collectively we haven’t been our best.”

The Aggies probably did show their best in an impressive streak in which they turned a 17-point deficit into a six-point lead.

They trailed 35-18 with 5:47 minutes remaining in the first half. Then, Flagg buried a 3-pointer to launch the most impressive stretch of the season.

The Aggies converted 60 percent (18 of 30) and hit 11 treys over a 17-minute span. Chandler’s final 3-pointer provided a 66-60 lead with 8:50 to play.

“I thought we played incredibly hard. I thought it was the most connected we have been all season. I thought you could hear it. I thought you could see it. I thought you could feel it. (I’m) encouraged.
- A&M head coach Buzz Williams

But that’s when the Aggies went from red hot to ice cold.

“I don’t think we did anything different,” Flagg said. “We played with the same amount of confidence the whole game. The shots just stopped falling in that little stretch when (LSU) picked up the lead back.”

The late scoring drought added to what has been a frustrating season in the Aggies' second year under Williams.

But the overall performance stoked some optimism that the Aggies have made progress and could be more competitive moving forward.

“I’m not consumed with the result yet,” Williams said. “I know I shouldn’t say that as the head coach relative to how much money they’re paying me. But I think the results will come when the process of what we need to do every day becomes more consistent.”

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Late shooting drought costs Aggies after red-hot second-half rally

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