Story Poster
Buzz Williams
Dennis & Marble
Matt McMahon
Texas A&M Basketball

Texas A&M breaks through vs. LSU to start 2-0 in conference, 69-56

January 7, 2023

Texas A&M got all the breaks on Saturday night.

Dexter Dennis broke out of a shooting slump. The Aggies broke though at the rim. A swarming defense broke LSU’s spirit.

And the Aggies broke a 10-game losing streak against the Tigers with a convincing 69-56 Southeastern Conference basketball victory at Reed Arena.

The Aggies (10-5, 2-0) followed up a stellar defensive effort in a victory over Florida on Wednesday with an even better defensive performance against LSU (12-3, 1-2).

Dennis and Julius Marble II each scored 17 points to lead the Aggies, who also picked up 14 from Tyrece Radford and 13 from Wade Taylor IV.

LSU guard Adam Miller had 16 points, but 6-foot-10 forward KJ Williams, who was averaging 18.8 points, managed only 10. He hit just 2-of-6 shots from the field.

“Our staff has been as good as I’ve ever seen in my career of studying the opponent, understanding the opponent and then formulating a game plan,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said about the A&M defensive showing.” I just think we’ve played really hard, and we’ve played together. To some degree, we’ve played with great IQ.”

A&M held LSU to just 28.6 percent shooting en route to building a 34-23 halftime lead — the identical midway score against Florida.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
In his first two SEC games, Julius Marble II scored 17 points in each.

The lead never fell below nine points in the second half as the Aggies forced LSU’s offense out to the perimeter.

LSU converted more 3-pointers (9) than 2-pointers (8) as A&M outscored the Tigers 42-10 in the paint.

“They force you to beat them from the perimeter,” LSU coach Matt McMahon said. “They give up a lot of perimeter threes. It’s hard to score against them in the paint. I don’t know if a team has ever gotten outscored 42-10 in the paint and won a game. I’d be shocked if that ever happened.”

Perhaps Dennis’ breakout game was also shocking. Dennis, who’s from Baker, Louisiana, had made just four of 29 shots and scored 20 points in the previous five games combined.

On this night, he hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first 3 1/2 minutes, scored 15 points in the first half and finished with a season-high total.

“It’s some of the same shots I’ve been taking. I just made them today,” Dennis said. “I think pretty much all credit goes to coaching staff and teammates for kind of keeping my confidence up a little bit and still telling me to shoot.

“Sometimes, athletes, we get in our own head a little bit after we miss a couple in a row. I just want to credit those guys for keeping me locked in.”

Dennis helped lead a relentless charge to the rim as the Aggies finished 17-of-19 layups. They also had three dunks — one from Dennis, one from Marble and one from Henry Coleman III.

The inside success was a dramatic improvement from earlier in the season when the Aggies frequently struggled to score at the rim.

“We’ve been working on pad work every day. Hitting each other with the pads. Pretty much kill each other with it,” said Marble, who’s had back-to-back 17-point outbursts. “If we can make that, we can make it in a game. A lot of those rim shots you see, like Dex and his layups and a lot of different finishes around the rim, is because we’ve been doing a lot of pad work on that.”

“I’m proud of what they’ve done over the last six days, but I’m really excited about where we could continue to grow.”
- A&M head coach Buzz Williams

The work paid off. A&M led for all but one minute and 25 seconds. Taylor had two baskets in a 10-0 run late in the first half that produced a double-digit lead.

The Aggies thwarted any LSU rally in the second half.

The Tigers pulled within 42-33, but Andre Gordon drove the baseline and dished to Coleman for a dunk.

LSU’s Justice Hill hit a 3-pointer to bring LSU within 48-38 midway through the second half, but A&M scored the next five points.

LSU again pulled within 10 on a Miller 3-pointer from the corner with 6:50 to play.

Radford promptly answered with a shot-clock beating 3-pointer from the top of the key to start an 8-1 A&M run.

The Aggies never looked back. They’re just eagerly looking ahead.

In back-to-back big SEC victories, A&M hasn’t resembled the team which suffered three losses in four games in early-to-mid December.

“I think over the last six days, we’ve had great growth,” Buzz Williams said. “I mentioned to them yesterday at the end of practice that’s what metamorphosis is. When a form changes, whether that’s a plant, whether that’s a person, whether that’s a team, when it changes naturally or supernaturally.

“I’m proud of what they’ve done over the last six days, but I’m really excited about where we could continue to grow.”

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Texas A&M breaks through vs. LSU to start 2-0 in conference, 69-56

4,228 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by cs69ag
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Loved seeing that defense. Looking forward to the rest of the season and didn't expect to be 2-0.
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This was a tremendous game for us. It was really nice to finally beat LSU! Keep it up Boys!
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Excited to see the offensive production from Dennis and Marble - was much needed - hope it continues. Defense has become this team's identity, and it's as good as anyone - this extra offensive production will certainly add to the win total.
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First game this year the team played hard, well and together for 40 min.
First time Dexter had a big game on O.
Marble has had two big games in a row.
LSU held to their lowest point total of the year at 56.
We held the top scorer for UF and LSU to way under their average.
On a given night, any of our starting 5 can go off for 15 or more points.
Right now the bench guys are handling their roles very well.
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