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Buzz Williams
Henry Coleman III
Texas A&M Basketball

Problematic opener leaves A&M eager to bounce back at Auburn

January 8, 2024
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Everybody has problems. It’s just that Texas A&M seems to have started Southeastern Conference basketball play with more than its share.

A second-half collapse in a 68-53 loss to LSU was problematic enough. But the Aggies (9-5, 0-1) next must go on the road to face No. 16 Auburn on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. CT.

Auburn (12-2, 1-0) is ranked eighth in the NET. The Tigers are on a seven-game winning streak. They’re undefeated at home. Eight of their victories were by 20 points or more. That includes an 83-51 dismantling of Arkansas in their SEC opener on Saturday.

The Tigers are 21st in the nation in scoring and 56th in scoring defense.

“Statistically, it’s the best team since coach (Bruce) Pearl has had since he’s been the head coach there,” A&M coach Buzz Williams said. “They’ve always had good players. They’ve had enormous success. But statistically, up until this point, it’s the best team he’s had.”

Yet, for all the problems Auburn poses, the Aggies’ top priority is working out their own issues to play their style of basketball.

“Statistically, it’s the best team since coach (Bruce) Pearl has had since he’s been the head coach there. They’ve always had good players. They’ve had enormous success. But statistically, up until this point, it’s the best team he’s had.”
- A&M head coach Buzz Williams

The Aggies acknowledge they were a shell of themselves in their SEC-opening loss.

“Our energy was low,” Williams said. “Our communication level was … poor. Our camaraderie, our competitive character — in many respects, I think, a lot of the things we’ve worked hard for that to be the standard — was not apparent.”

In the loss A&M did not shoot well, which has been a common occurrence. However, they’ve typically compensated by dominating the offensive boards, limiting turnovers and playing sound on the defensive end.

The Aggies, who lead the nation in offensive rebounding, got 13 offensive boards but managed only three second-chance points.

Controlling the offensive glass figures to be difficult again. Auburn is 47th in the country in defensive rebounding.

Still, A&M forward Henry Coleman III remains confident the Aggies can maintain an advantage on the offensive glass.

“I think we can continue to still do what we do —  control the glass,” Coleman said. I know a lot of people focus on the big men — Andy (Garcia), Wildens (Leveque), me, Solomon (Washington) — controlling it. But I think our guards play a huge deal in helping us control the glass.

“It’s all five of the guys on the floor doing their job when the ball goes in the air.”

The Aggies’ style has typically been successful against Auburn. A&M is 5-1 against Auburn under Williams. That includes a 79-63 blowout last season at Auburn.

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M swept last season’s series against Auburn, including a 79-63 win to end the Tigers’ 28-game home winning streak.

In that win the Aggies only had nine offensive boards, but shot better than 47 percent from the field. Tyrece “Boots” Radford led the way with 30 points, 11 of which came from the free-throw line.

The Aggies may need a similar effort by Radford or leading scorer Wade Taylor IV.

Auburn has a powerful lineup led by 6-foot-10 forward Johni Broome, who averages 15.6 points and 8.6 rebounds. Also, 6-foot-8 forward Jaylin Williams averages 11.4 points and guard Aden Holloway averages 10.1.

Williams acknowledges A&M isn’t likely to win a fast-paced game, which puts an emphasis on getting offensive rebounds and avoiding live-ball turnovers.

“You fuel their offense if you give them live-ball turnovers,” he said. “We have to make sure we get a shot. And we need to have a presence on the offensive glass because we’re putting so much pressure on the rim. That’s the first stage of our transition defense.

“If we score on a free throw or if we score a made basket we need to have some plan on how to gear them down so it’s not a track meet.”

Discussion from...

Problematic opener leaves A&M eager to bounce back at Auburn

3,434 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by laruejd
cs69ag
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AG
A lot of the game is played between the ears. Re LSU, we beat them 2x last year.
Their net was 138 coming to Reed. We were at home where we had not lost an SEC game in a long time.
All the talk was how bad a team LSU was. We took them lightly.

Doubt Auburn will take us lightly after we beat them so bad on their home court last year.
laruejd
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AG
Not a word about all the offensive rebounds we gave them. Worst 2nd half defensive effort I have seen by a Buzz coached team in years. We were blown out in the second half by a team that had not won on the road since 2022.
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