Story Poster
Photo by Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Texas A&M Basketball

Hoops Wrecking Crew? Fighter's mentality has A&M ready to dance

February 16, 2023

Question of the day.

In Texas A&M jargon, is the term “Wrecking Crew” to be used exclusively for football?

If so, perhaps the moniker could be at least temporarily loaned to A&M basketball.

Dexter Dennis and his friends certainly have earned it with their down-and-dirty dominant defense.

The Aggies’ new crew put on a different dastardly defensive display in their rousing 62-56 victory over Arkansas on Wednesday night.

Usually, A&M squeezes opponents to build a first-half lead. Then, the Aggies make the margin stand up in the second half.

Against Arkansas, strong defense kept A&M in contention when the Aggies couldn’t buy a bucket.

A&M scored just four points in the first 10 minutes, which would typically indicate impending disaster.

However, the Aggies’ defense repeatedly denied Arkansas. The Razorbacks had just 10 points midway through the first half.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Dennis registered a double-double on Wednesday with 14 points & 11 rebounds.

Even when the Swine got hot and converted their final nine shots of the half, the Aggies faced just a 33-24 halftime deficit.

Then A&M employed a zone defense to squeeze the Hogs like a python in the second half. Arkansas shot just 36 percent in the second half. That included just 1-of-10 from 3-point range. A&M also forced seven turnovers.

“I do think it changed the rhythm,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said of the defensive change. “I do think that was a big part of it, for sure.”

In turn, the Aggies’ offense erupted for 41 points in the second half. Guard Wade Taylor IV was responsible for 16 of them.

“Coming out in the second half, we wanted to get stops,” Taylor said. “We know stops lead to offense.”

The defense stopped the Razorbacks dead in their tracks in the final nine minutes.

Arkansas scored only seven points in that span. Three of them came on a three-point play with just 13 seconds remaining and A&M firmly in control.

Frankly, defense cannot be much better, especially against an opponent which averages more than 73 points per game and has three NBA prospects.

Ricky Council IV — the SEC’s second-leading scorer — was limited to six points.

Even without a intimidating shot blocker (the Aggies are last in the SEC in blocked shots), A&M allows an average of 66.5 points to rank an impressive 87th in the nation in scoring defense.

The Aggies are actually better than that.

In 15 games since suffering a stunning loss to Wofford on Dec. 20, they have allowed an average of 63 points and held six opponents to fewer than 60 points.

These are a bunch relentless hard-nosed, tough-minded guys who won’t back down from a challenge. They have fighter’s mentality.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
A fan favorite, a chorus of “BOOOOOOTS” can be heard at Reed Arena whenever Radford makes a bucket.

Tyrece Radford is called Boots because — as Williams says — he’s as tough as boot leather. But A&M has a bunch of boots.

Whether it’s Taylor getting steals, Dennis neutralizing an opponent’s primary offensive threat, Radford blocking a shot on the perimeter, or Henry Coleman III, Julius Marble II and Andersson Garcia doing dirty work inside, this roster of fighters won’t back down.

That’s obvious in the fact that they’ve fought back from that loss to Wofford to all but assure themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament field.

“We were 6-5 when Santa Claus came to your house,” Williams said. “Since Santa Claus came, we’ve won 13 out of 15. I think they’ve been very accepting of this situation we’re in. I think they’ve responded to the changes that we’ve made. I think they’ve been willing to do the work required to maybe have a chance for success.

“It has to start with the character of who they are.”

They are a wrecking crew, even if they aren’t The Wrecking Crew.

Discussion from...

Hoops Wrecking Crew? Fighter's mentality has A&M ready to dance

5,245 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by Tuco Ramirez - 80
How long do you want to ignore this user?
this team fights like a bunch of junkyard dogs. i love watching them play win or lose they are going to take a bite.
Papa Joe
How long do you want to ignore this user?
A tough minded team with lots of character that takes on the personality of their coach!
Just keep playing tough defense and keep winning!
Gig 'em!!!
Tuco Ramirez - 80
How long do you want to ignore this user?
These guys are tougher than Mrs. Douglas's pancakes!
Page 1 of 1
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.