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Buzz Williams
Tyrece Radford
Andre Gordon
Texas A&M Basketball

Aggies look to utilize consistency and confidence against No. 12 Kentucky

January 18, 2022
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The way Texas A&M guard Andre Gordon sees the key to beating basketball behemoth Kentucky is simple.

Do what you’ve already done.

“I think it’s going to take what we’ve been doing all year,” Gordon said. “Play sound defense. Move the ball on offense. Don’t turn the ball over. Rebound. Do every little thing we’re taught.

“Play with confidence and go out there and fight like we do.”

That would seem like an obvious task for the Aggies (15-2, 4-0) when they face No. 12 Kentucky (14-3, 4-1) Wednesday night at 7:30 at Reed Arena.

“Play sound defense. Move the ball on offense. Don’t turn the ball over. Rebound. Do every little thing we’re taught. Play with confidence and go out there and fight like we do.”
- A&M guard Andre Gordon 

Except, of course, there is one pesky detail. The Aggies must prevent Kentucky from doing what it usually does.

Kentucky scores. A lot.

The Wildcats lead the SEC in scoring with an 84.0 average. They also lead the SEC in assists, field goal percentage, free throw percentage and rebounds.

All of that was on full display last Saturday in a 107-79 thrashing of then-No. 22 Tennessee.

“(They’re) uber-talented at every position,” Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “Obviously, coached by a Hall of Fame coach (John Calipari). 

“We’ll have to make sure that we play with incredible discipline on both ends of the floor trying to slow them down, trying to keep them out of the middle of the floor offensively. And then when the shot goes up, can we gain possession of the rebound?”

A&M has had trouble keeping opponents off the offensive boards. That could be a major problem against Kentucky’s 6-foot-9 forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who leads the SEC in rebounding with 14.9 per game and averages 16.5 points.

No doubt rebounding is vital. Yet, Williams said the Aggies’ defense in transition might be more important.

“Can we slow them down in transition?” Williams said. “The first 12 seconds of the shot clock, they’re as fast as any team in the country. Forty-six percent of their shots are in transition. Near half of their shots are coming in the first 12 seconds. That’s like Indy 500 fast.”

Still, Kentucky has lost three times, including a defeat at the hands of Notre Dame, which A&M beat.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Henry Coleman III averages 10.3 points per game and scored a team-high 18 points in Saturday’s win over Missouri. 

The Aggies figure they need a strong inside performance from forward Henry Coleman III and an accurate effort from 3-point range. A&M leads the SEC in 3-point shooting.

Perhaps more importantly, though, they cannot be intimidated by Kentucky’s daunting reputation.

Gordon said they’re not.

“We’re just looking forward to playing,” Gordon said. “We’re 4-and-0 in the SEC, and we’re trying to get to 5-and-0.”

Senior guard Tyrece Radford seemed to echo that message.

“You’ve got to keep your composure,” Radford said. “You don’t want to be overly hyped for it and come out trying to make home runs after home runs. Just taking it play-by-play.

“For the most part, I think it’s just staying true to who we are: Defense. Try not to make home-run plays because we’re in front of a big crowd. It’s just not trying to feed into the hype and stick to who we are.”

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Aggies look to utilize consistency and confidence against No. 12 Kentucky

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